Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas Deliciosas

Of course, my inspiration for making enchiladas was salsa – what else? I had a bunch of tomatoes that needed to be used and thought, the easiest, quickest way to use them up was to make a batch of salsa fresca. And to go with it, I decided to make enchiladas for a change.

For Halloween night, however, I didn't want to go to too much effort, so as I searched for a recipe, I decided to go for one with canned enchilada sauce. I also used canned green chiles and picked the mild versions of both the sauce and the chiles, hoping my kids might like the dish. But, alas, they did not go for it. If anyone has ideas for how to get my kids to like spicy food, I would really appreciate it. I've tried adding just a little pepper in hopes of gradually getting them to accept the heat, but no luck so far. I'm getting pretty tired of keeping the spice on the side all the time and/or making a separate meal for them.

So anyway, back to the recipe search... The one thing that frustrated me was, most of the recipes I found called for flour tortillas. Now, I thought enchiladas were supposed to be made with corn tortillas. Is that just a personal preference or is that true? Well, obviously, I googled it and a lot of people out there really think flour is the way to go for enchiladas, but it looks like, for authentic Mexican enchiladas, it's corn tortillas. So, I don't know how authentic the rest of my recipe is, but I went with corn. Besides, corn tortillas are gluten-free (although you should check the ingredients list to be sure). I found a tip online for prepping the corn tortillas too – probably not the traditional way of doing it, but it worked and brought out that wonderful corn flavor and aroma.

Here is my (probably) unauthentic recipe for chicken enchiladas with corn tortillas. Substitute flour tortillas if you must. Use left-over pre-cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or cook up a couple chicken breasts just for this. Anything should work. I like to squeeze a little lime juice over the chicken for extra flavor, but that's optional.

Chicken Enchiladas  PRINTABLE RECIPE 
Makes at least 6 servings

1-1/4 lbs pre-cooked chicken - shredded
Non-stick cooking oil spray
1 medium yellow onion - chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves - peeled & minced
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
2 cans (28 oz each) red enchilada sauce (I used Las Palmas)
2 cups shredded cheese (M. jack, cheddar, pepper jack, Asadero, or a blend - you pick)
18 corn tortillas

1. Spray a pan with cooking oil and heat to medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes, until the onion starts to caramelize.

2. Mix shredded chicken with 1-1/2 cups enchilada sauce, one cup cheese, diced green chiles, and the cooked onions and garlic. Set aside (refrigerate if it's going to be awhile) while you prep the tortillas.

3. Preheat oven to 425°. Spray both sides of 6 corn tortillas at a time with cooking oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. You can then roll enchiladas (see step 4) using the first six while the rest bake.

4. Pour some enchilada sauce into a large glass casserole dish – just enough to cover the bottom. Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture.  Roll up and place seam side down in the dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Once you have filled up the dish completely, pour over another cup of enchilada sauce and top with the remaining cup of cheese.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes in the pre-heated 425° oven. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

6. While the enchiladas bake, heat up any remaining enchilada sauce to serve on the side. Also serve with salsa, avocado slices, and sour cream, if you like.