Chicken Enchiladas for The Daring Cooks Challenge (and stacked they are not!)
I had never made enchilada sauce until I prepared this dish. The tomatillos are pretty weird to cook, but it was all incredibly good with very few ingredients. I was truly amazed at the flavors of the enchiladas, especially when we were missing some of the sauce. I am sure that roasting the peppers and grilling the chicken with some spices added to the great flavors.
I did not taste the black bean (vegetarian version) of the dish, but if it was anything like the chicken enchiladas, it was very tasty! I used white cornmeal tortillas. It tasted very much like authentic Mexican food to me and nothing like what we get in some restaurants.
My sauce was pretty hot because I used Poblano peppers instead of Anaheim chilies (the chilies that were called for in the recipe). It did mellow as it cooked (sort of like I do with some sangria!) and was really delicious when mixed with everything else. By the way, do not chop these chilies with no gloves (as I did…) I had some hot little hands for a while after I did. Just because they don’t bite at first doesn’t mean they aren’t vicious!!
We really liked sour cream as an accompaniment to the enchiladas. It cooled down some of the flavors and added a different texture.
My changes to the recipe are in the printable version below. I doubled all of the ingredients for the enchiladas since I was feeding a crowd. I have made the adjustments to cook this entirely with chicken and not as a vegetarian dish (as I did). This was so good, I will be making this again! (Or else I had too much sangria and didn’t know any better!)
3 pounds fresh Poblano chilies
1 lb. fresh Tomatillos, peel, remove stems
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (dissolve in 4 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional (I used a bit of Cholula)
Chicken and enchiladas
4 boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or Canola Oil
Cajun Seasoning mix or Kosher salt and pepper
20 small white corn tortillas (5-6 inch)
Canola oil for frying
1 lb. grated Mexican four-cheese blend (Kraft)
Sour cream, for garnish
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled, optional
Roasting Fresh Chiles:
1. Coat each chile with a little canola oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster. *I broiled mine in the oven.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered. This takes 5-10 minutes total or even longer, depending on your broiler element.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.
5. DO NOT RINSE!
6. Chop the chiles.
Green Chile Sauce:
1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft. *I boiled mine for about 8 minutes.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes. *I cooked mine a little longer to reduce the sauce and blend the flavors.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.
Grilling Chicken and Preparing Enchiladas:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (for baking enchiladas).
2. Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a charcoal grill to medium hot. Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well Cajun Seasoning mix (that is what I used) or with salt and pepper.
3. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
4. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
5. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
6. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
7. Drain on paper towels.
8. Add oil as needed and continue until all tortillas are done.
9. In a lightly oiled 13 x9 inch baking dish (and a 7 x 9 inch baking dish), place approximately one half of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dishes.
10. Put a couple pieces of chicken and a tablespoon or two of cheese in each tortilla. Roll up and place in casserole dishes.
11. Continue until all the chicken is used and slightly more than half of the grated cheese has been used for the enchiladas. You should be able to fill both casserole dishes with the rolled enchiladas.
12. Cover both casseroles with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
13. Cover casseroles with aluminum foil and bake until sauce begins to thicken and cheese is melting (about 20 minutes). Uncover casseroles. Continue to bake until dishes are bubbling and cheese is slightly browned, approximately 5 minutes. You can also pop the casseroles under the broiler to brown the cheese. Be careful not to get the cheese too brown.
14. Let the casseroles sit for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro.