January 26, 2010
Chicken Enchiladas with Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce
I love Mexican food but I am particular about it. I don't like it too greasy or too hot. Heat is good but it does not substitute flavor. Living in the Sonoran desert our local Mexican food is the standard fare that a cattle ranching population of people could survive on like refried beans, red rice, various burros with chunky red or green chili beef, tacos, queso fundito, menudo, sopapillas etc. I am trying to move away from the "junior league" style recipes where a can of soup is added for flavor and ease of preparation but those cans of condensed soup are filled with ingredients I am no longer feeding to my family. I am trying to capture pure, simple and delicious flavor.
Serves a family of 4
Preheat Oven to 375F
1-2lbs of (about 3 cups) of shredded chicken (I grill or oven roast bone-in chicken breast with a light seasoning of salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin).
1 to 2 fresh or canned jalapenos chopped fine (I always chop with gloves)
1 pasilla or hatch or poblano (whatever your market has - watch for the super hot chilies) chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 onion chopped fine
1 tsp cumin optional
1 tsp salt
Note: sometimes I do a quick saute of onions and chili peppers in a bit of oil to soften adding the cumin in at the end for about 30 seconds
1lb (16oz) cheese (sharp, medium, or monterey mix)
3-4 cups enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
12 corn tortillas
Combine 3 cups of cheese and about 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup of the enchilada sauce with the chicken, chilies, onions, cilantro, spices, taste for salt and pepper. I like my mixture moist so I adjust with the enchilada sauce.
Heat a small amount of oil in a saute pan and heat and run each tortilla through the oil stacking on a papertowel lined plate. Or to cut the extra fat wrap the stack of corn tortillas in a wet paper towel and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds until they are bendable
Prepare baking dish by spreading about a 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Place filling down the center of the tortilla topped a bit of cheese if desired and to a quick wrap placing seam side down in pan. Fill all 12 tortillas.
Top with remaining sauce and cheese and cover with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese browns (5 minutes) or until crispy (10 minutes).
Mild Red Enchilada SauceMakes 3 cups
10 large dried Californian/New Mexican chili pods (in the Mexican section of the supermarket)
2 cups of hot chicken broth (just under boiling) or water
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 teaspoons of salt
Remove stems from chillies then cut open and remove seeds.
Lightly toast chillies in an ungreased saute pan over medium heat until they are fragrant but not too dark.
Crumble chillies into a bowl and pour hot broth over top and cover bowl with a plate and let stand for 1 hour until the chillies are softened.
In a bowl of a food processor, add the garlic salt and the chillies in their liquid and process until smooth.
Strain through a fine strainer to remove the coarse skin.
Adjust your seasonings with salt, pepper, and cumin.