May 23, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas

Baked Chicken Enchiladas. 

baked chicken enchiladas

WARNING! These are not your traditional enchiladas!  My co-worker even got a little offended when I called them that because she is all about authentic Mexican food.  She scolded me because my sauce had tomato sauce in it and I did not make it with dried chilies.  And according to her, I did not build my enchiladas correctly... Sorry Norma, but I don't care!  These "enchiladas" were SO GOOD!  And I have since found TONS of recipes online that use tomato sauce! 

baked Chicken Enchiladas mexican food

So the moral of the story is... Make food that you like to make and that tastes fabulous and no one should care what you call it! I will definitely be making these Chicken Enchiladas again very soon!  The other reason I liked this recipe from Pink Parsley was because the naked enchiladas are baked in the oven for a few minutes before adding the sauce over the top so the tortilla doesn't get too soggy and you have slightly crispy edges. 

baked Chicken Enchiladas mexican foodbaked Chicken Enchiladas mexican food

This recipe cooks all of the sauce and filling components together first and then you strain the sauce to be poured over the top during the baking process.  This creates a very deep, intense, rich flavor in just a couple easy steps.  I also don't like a lot of cheese inside and on top of my enchiladas so I minimized the original recipe, but if you like it that way feel free to cheese it up as much as you want!

baked Chicken Enchiladas mexican food
Whenever I buy tortillas, my go to is Guerrero, but this time I looked on the bottom shelf and found two varieties from La Tortilla Factory.  They were called "Hand Made Style" and I bought both yellow corn and green chile varieties.  They were yummy, and even Norma approved of my choice!  The only down side was that they were slightly thicker than other store-bought tortillas and they didn't crisp up as much as the tortillas from the original recipe I followed, but I was still happy with my end result. 

baked Chicken Enchiladas mexican foodbaked Chicken Enchiladas mexican food

Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted from Pink Parsley
Serves 4-6
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1 tbsp canola oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sugar
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper

To garnish (optional):
1 avocado, sliced or cubed
1/2 cup cotija cheese
chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine the oil, onion, jalapenos and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cook on med-low heat stirring frequently until the veggies are soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce, chicken stock and chopped tomato.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. 

Nestle the chicken into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts.  Once done, remove chicken and allow to cool a little. 

Strain the sauce through a fine strainer into a medium sized bowl.  Push down on the onion mixture with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl.

Shred the chicken and add it to the onion mixture along with 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce, 1 cup of cheese and most of the cilantro (leave a little for garnishing).  Toss to combine. 

Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until soft and flexible, about 40-60 seconds.  Lay the tortillas out on a clean work surface and add about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture to each.  Roll the enchiladas up tightly and lay them seam side down in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. 

Spray the tops of the enchiladas lightly with cooking spray, and place into the oven for about 7 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the edges are slightly crispy.  Skip this step if you want to. 

Remove from the oven.  Reduce heat to 400 degrees.  Pour sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 15-20 more minutes, or until heated through.  Remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of cooking to really get that cheese nice and bubbly. 

Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Top with any garnish you like.  I chose fresh avocado, cotija cheese (which I highly recommend!) and chopped cilantro.  Sour cream, queso fresco, crema or guacamole would be great too.  A Corona doesn't hurt either!