Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I hope everybody had a great holiday season! I am not much of a "Holiday" cook, so I took some time off from blogging :) Now that the holidays are over, I feel good posting a recipe in my favorite style: Mexican! This recipe can be made from what are normal pantry staples along with a few fresh ingredients, making it a great weeknight meal - unlike some "traditional" Mexican dishes, which require a visit to a Latino grocery store and two hours of prep work!


For the Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) plain tomato sauce
  • 1 can (7 ounces) diced green chiles (mild or hot, your choice)
  • 1 small onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 fresh jalepeno chile (remove the ribs and seeds for a milder flavor)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles (optional - they give the sauce a subtle, smokey heat)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, thick and leafless stems trimmed off
Other Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon each cumin and coriander seeds, toasted, cooled, and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (or just Cheddar and/or Monterrey Jack cheeses)
  • 12 medium (or "enchilada size) flour tortillas
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a large saucepan with the cumin, coriander, salt, and lemon. Add enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil and gently simmer over low heat, covered, for 8-12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Meanwhile (while the chicken is cooking), put all the Enchilada sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse 10-15 times until smooth. When the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the liquid and shred into bite-sized pieces with forks. Discard the cooking liquid, or strain and use as you would chicken broth (although it might be a little too salty, depending on how much water you added). In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded chicken, half of the sauce and half the cheese. Stir to combine.

Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Place about a 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in a line across the middle of a tortilla and roll it up. Put the enchilada seam-side down in the baking dish and repeat with remaining tortillas, packing them in as snugly as possible (you may have to experiment with the exact layout depending on the size of your tortillas and the dimensions of your baking dish). Spread the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is bubbly. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

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