In The Kitchen: Chef Charlie spices up Maryville fire fighters

After writing about the culinary skills of the First Shift of the Maryville Fire Department, a cry arose from Second Shift. They had chefs, too, they insisted, and wanted the chance to feed the food writer.

I happily took them up on the invitation. The department was especially excited, having just received recommendation for accreditation from a peer assessment team from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, which is a really big deal for fire departments.

For my Saturday night dining treat, Charlie Martinez was the chef. Charlie, like a lot of good cooks, doesn’t always measure out his ingredients, but he took the time to do so for this dish and Blount Today readers.

The menu was Charlie Martinez’s Chicken Enchiladas with Rice and Beans. The dish fed 8 to 10 and was 45 minutes in preparation from start to finish.

Charlie also made a special salsa, and has given us a modified recipe. The recipe is modified because it calls for a special peppers called chiltepin peppers that Charlie gets from his mom in Arizona. The tiny peppers pack quite a punch and are considered one of the hottest peppers in the world. Charlie says you can substitute jalapeno peppers in the salsa recipe.

The crew the night I was there included Capt. Mike Sing, Charlie Martinez, Chance Hawkins, Rob Woods, Michael Chopin and Randell Moore. They have a great system -- the guys who don’t cook, clean up! It was a great evening. Thanks, guys!

Charlie Martinez’s Chicken Enchiladas

2 Tablespoons butter

4 boneless chicken breast, chopped into small pieces

2 cans (26 oz.) Cream of Chicken soup

2 cans (10 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 lb. Mexican style shredded cheese

20 fajita-sized flour tortillas

In large skillet, melt butter and cook chopped chicken pieces until lightly browned and cooked through. Turn heat to low.

In a large saucepan, mix cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes with chilies and shredded cheese. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to a simmer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay tortillas flat. Spoon cooked chicken into each tortilla, roll up and place in an 11 x 15 glass baking dish.

Pour cheese sauce over the top of enchiladas. Bake for 15 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Chiltepin Salsa

1 can (26 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon oregano

12 chiltepin peppers( or 2 jalapeno peppers) cooked in water until soft

Place all ingredients in blender for about 15 seconds.

Mexican Rice

1/2 lb. bag long grain rice

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 can (15 oz.) whole tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

7 to 8 cups of water

Place tomatoes in blender for 15 seconds. In a large sauce pan, brown rice in vegetable oil. Add diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic and onion and water. Cook over medium-to-high heat until most of the liquid is evaporated.

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