Monday, March 2, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

We all are in need of recipes where the work is done ahead of time. This recipe is a great one that can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. (Increase baking time by approximately 10 minutes if enchiladas are not room temperature at onset of baking.)

The original recipe was quite spicy, actually too spicy for my children. So I eliminated the jalapenos and decreased the chili powder from 3 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons--in doing so, the spice that remained was mild and the right temperature for my children to eat and enjoy. If you like spicy enchiladas, add 1 4-ounce can of pickled jalapenos into the mixture of cilantro and cheese in step 5, as well as an additional tablespoon chili powder in step 1. The choice is yours.


Sauce and Filling
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or corn oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
16 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese (2 cups)

Tortillas and Toppings
10 corn tortillas (six-inch)
Cooking spray
3 oz. grated cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)
1 avocado, diced or guacamole
5 leaves romaine lettuce washed, dried, and shredded
2 limes, quartered


1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until coated with spices, about 30 seconds.

3. Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water; stir to separate chicken pieces. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and flavors have melded, about 8 minutes.

4. Pour mixture through medium-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on chicken and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside.

**Note**I thought the sauce was a little runny and needed thickening. If you find your sauce does not stick to the back of a spoon, thicken before using. To do so, mix equal amounts cold water and cornstarch (2 tablespoons) in small bowl, return sauce back to saucepan and heat on medium-high. Add the cornstarch-water mixture to hot sauce and stir continuously until sauce sticks to the back of a spoon.

5. Transfer chicken mixture to large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos (if using), and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.

6. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees. Place tortillas onto two baking sheets. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spray and bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, about 4 minutes.

7. Smear entire bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with 3/4 cup sauce.

8. Place warm tortillas on a plate or counter top. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place 1/3 cup filling down center of tortilla.

9. Roll each tortilla by hand and place in baking dish, side by side, seam-side down.

10. Pour remaining sauce over top of enchiladas. Use back of spoon to spread sauce so it coats the top of each tortilla.

11. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated cheese down the center of enchiladas.

12. Cover baking dish with foil and bake enchiladas on lower-middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, about 20-25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, passing sour cream, guacamole or diced avocado, lettuce, and lime wedges separately.


Ann said...

Love enchiladas. I just made homemade flautas, enchilada soup, guacamole and salsa tonight. Must be fiesta night:)

Your rice looks quite nummy! May I ask what is in it? mmmmmm

It was so nice to see you and Miss Thang yesterday.
Very Fun!

Mamahollioni said...

The enchiladas were plated with a rice salad with pineapple, jicama, and pumpkin seeds. It is amazing! I'll post the rice for you as soon as I can. Thanks for asking!

Four For France said...

Okay, so I grew up in Texas, eating really good mexican food. I have made many recipes for chicken enchiladas. But this is FAR and AWAY they very best enchiladas I have EVER had. Phenomenal. I served them with your guac. Pure Joy! Party in my mouth. I may do them again next week...for Cinco de Mayo.