Friday, August 29, 2008

The best chicken enchiladas ever, I promise

So here is one of our favorite recipes here at our house.  I got the original from Tyler (family food network favorite!), but I've adapted it for our family.  Try it, you'll like it.  I have a few more insider tips at the bottom of the recipe.

Please don't let the long list of ingredients keep you from trying this. They can all be found at most grocery stores and they are very inexpensive.  This recipe is:
  • Economical
  • Low in fat
  • Freezable
What more could you want?

(None of these amounts are precise)
3 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs bonless, skinless chicken breast I sometimes use more
salt and pepper
3-4 T Adobo or other mexican seasoning with cumin (measurement not necessary, you'll just be sprinkling chicken with this as it cooks)
1 onion, chopped can use red or white or whatever you have
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can chopped green chiles you can also use whole canned chiles and just chop them
1/4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced careful here- canned chipotles vary in their heat.  I've had some be very hot, others not as much.  Add them slowly and taste as you go.  You can also save the adobo sauce for adding a little to the sauce- so good!
1 28 can tomatoes- can use any canned tomatoes.  These will be part of the sauce that goes in the food processor, so it doesn't really matter if they are chopped, whole, have onion in them or are just plain.
a little flour
lots of corn tortillas- at least 16, but I just buy a large package at the store so I have plenty
1-2 large cans of enchilada sauce, or 1 large can.  Buy a couple extra just to have on hand
2 C shredded cheese- cheddar or jack or both

OK, now the fun part.  I love cooking this recipe.
Coat large saute pan with oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and mexican seasoning.  Brown until no longer pink inside.  Remove chicken from pan and let it cool.

Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender.  Add the onion first and let it go for a few minutes on medium low before adding garlic, as garlic will cook much faster.
Now add both green and chipotle chiles.  Stir.  Then add tomatoes and let the sauce all come together for a few minutes.  

After combined, I put my sauce in the food processor so it is not chunky.  It's not smooth like a puree, but I don't want chunks of onion and tomato in there.  After I've let it go for a few seconds in the food processor, I just put it right back in the pan on low.

While the sauce becomes so yummy you won't believe it, shred the cooked chicken breasts apart.  Take a taste, then add shredded chicken to saute pan and combine with sauce.  Dust with a little flour to keep it from being runny in your enchiladas.  We don't want runny enchiladas.

Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds.  This takes the stiffness away and makes them soft like butter in your hands.  I microwave mine about 8 at a time so they don't have a chance to get stiff while I roll the enchiladas.  

Spray two 9x13 pans with Pam, then ladle enchilada sauce into the bottom of each pan.  Kind of like when you make lasagne- not too much sauce, though. Don't think puddles, just a light coating.  

Now I make a little assembly line- my plate of warm tortillas, a shallow dish of enchilada sauce, and a large amount of the chicken mixture in another bowl.  Prepare to get a little messy.  Dip each tortillas in enchilada sauce.  Then spoon some of the chicken mixture- not too much or you won't be able to roll the enchilada- in each tortilla and roll them up. You'll have to pause and heat the tortillas in batches. Place the enchiladas seam side down in the pans.  It may take a few to get the hang of it, but you are going to cover all this with cheese, so don't worry about perfection.  Cheese covers a multitude of cooking sins.

Once the pans are full of yummy enchiladas (my pans hold at least 10 enchiladas each- really more like 12-14), all you have to do is cover them with cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.  I freeze one pan, and the other pan feeds our family of six with plenty of leftovers.  

This reheats very well, so you could make it a day ahead with no problem- just leave off the cheese the first time you bake it and add the cheese when you reheat the dish in the oven.

I usually serve this with black beans and yellow rice.  A green salad would be good, too.  Sour cream is a must.  

A few suggestions:
If you have extra chicken (in the sauce), it is great in quesadillas for lunch.

If at all possible, get your corn tortillas from a Mexican/Hispanic grocery.  These are becoming more and more common.  You can also find the chiles and enchilada sauce there as well.  I am not one to make a special stop for specialty groceries, but the Mexican grocery is in the same shopping center as our main grocery, so this works for me with very little hassle.  I would be willing to drive to a Mexican/Hispanic grocery, though.  You just won't believe the difference in the tortillas. 

But you can get all these ingredients at regular grocery stores as well, and these enchilada will still be really good with Pepito tortillas.


Candy said...

can't wait to try it I am putting it on my next shopping list.. thanks we love mexican foods in our house never made enchiladas though

Leah said...

Tami- this recipe just makes this pregnant woman's mouth water! I love a good Mexican meal. I have a great recipe for an enchildada casserole, but it doesn't freeze well (can't tell you exactly why, but it just doesn't), so I am trying to expand my horizons to something that I can freeze--especially with #2 on the way soon. Thanks for the recipe!

Also, thanks for the sweet comment on my blog. We are slowly but surely getting everything ready for Baxter's arrival. Praise the Lord for Labor Day weekend--not because I am expecting to actually go into labor, but because it gives us time to work on projects. Keep in touch, and we will keep you informed of Baxter's arrival. God bless!