Friday, January 29, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

Like I said, The husband and I fought over these enchiladas leftovers. They were so fantastic. I think the kids ate 4-5 of these for dinner, and I won't even say how many I ate.

The Husband and I have been working on perfecting our enchilada recipe for a long time. Until recently, I had always made a modified version of my mom's enchiladas, but it was more like an enchilada casserole. It tasted fine, but wasn't quite what we were going for. It wasn't until last month, when The Husband made a super fantastic red chile sauce using reconstituted dried chiles, which resulted in the most delicious and smooth sauce, that I realized it was time to kick up the enchiladas. I think we succeeded. Here is the recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas
3-4 chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
1 can diced green chilis
1/2 a jalapeno (we used about 5 slices of jalapenos (pickled) in a jar.)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 cup Mexican Cheese blend (plus more for topping)
45 small Corn Tortillas (Do NOT use flour tortillas)
olive oil
Enchilada sauce (see recipe) Or, you can buy big can of red enchilada sauce, found in the mexican food aisle of your grocery store.

Season your thawed chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add a little bit of olive oil to your frying pan, add chicken, and cook through. Remove chicken from pan, then add diced onions to the pan. Turn heat to medium and let onions saute through. (You may need to add a little bit more oil to the pan.)

Meanwhile, chop up your chicken (or shred) very finely. When the onions are soft and translucent, add chicken back to the pan. Season your onions and chicken with garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Finely chop up your jalapeno and add that and your green chilis to your chicken mixture. Stir in your cheese. Now you are ready to assemble.

Heat up your olive oil in a small frying pan. Add your corn tortilla for about 20 seconds, flipping if the oil doesn't reach the top side. Doing this softens your tortilla so it won't break as you roll it. Do this with all your tortillas and drain on paper towels.

Take 2 cookie sheets and spray with cooking spray. Lay out a tortilla and add about 2 TBSP of chicken mixture to the middle of your tortilla. Roll up. Fill the remaining tortillas in the same way and line them up next to each other on your cookie sheet, so they are very close to each other, but not touching. This should make two rows on each of your cookie sheets.

(If two pans are too much for your family, then at this point, take one pan and put it in your freezer. Once the enchiladas are frozen, remove them from the pan and stack them in a double lined ziploc freezer bag. When you want to make them, simply line them up again on a greased cookie sheet, let thaw for about an hour on the counter, then bake as instructed.)

Now, bake your enchiladas in the oven, at 400 degrees, for about 20 minutes. They should be lightly browned. Remove them from the oven and spoon over about 2TBSP of your chile sauce over the top of each enchilada. Then sprinkle the tops with cheese. Put the enchiladas back in the oven for about 7 minutes. After that, it's time to eat!

I hope you agree that these are the best tasting chicken enchiladas ever!! We LOVE them, and the kids LOVED them too!

Enchilada Sauce
*3-4 dried guajillo (or ancho) chiles
2 TBSP onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 heaping TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 TBSP cumin
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon (or lime) juice
Hot water (almost boiling)

*These dried chiles can be found in the mexican aisle of most grocery stores. They are packaged in plastic bags and dried. They should be about the length of your hand and look close to a maroon color. Dont make my mistake, and get the tiny little red chiles. Those are HOT!)

Take your chiles and remove the stems and the seeds. Don't worry about getting every little seed. Heath removed about 2/3rds of the seeds. Add the chiles, onion, cilantro, garlic, seasonings, olive oil and lime (or lemon) juice to your blender. Now, fill your blender to the top with your hot water. (Fill to within 1 inch of the top of your blender.) Let everything sit, just like that, in your blender for about 30 minutes. Go find something to do. :)

After 30 minutes, start your blender (with the lid on!). Keep it blending for about 5 minutes. You want everything really incorporated. Then taste your mixture to make sure everything is seasoned how you like it. If you find that your sauce is too hot for you, you can cut it with some tomatoes (canned tomatoes are fine) but keep in mind, the tomatoes suck up the seasoning, and you may need to adjust seasonings after. Blend everything thoroughly. When you have it how you want it, you will then need to strain your mixture very well through a Very Fine Strainer. If you don't have a really fine sieve, then you can use a flour sifter, which is what we used. Strain it into a bowl. Your result should be satiny smooth and have a beautiful vibrant red color.

*Optional directions: If you want a smokey flavor, buy smoked dried chiles. You can also roast your onions and garlic.

You can keep the sauce in the fridge for two weeks, or you can freeze it in a ziploc bag until you are ready to use it.


Anonymous said...

Those look sooo good! now i want some!!

Megan said...

Those do look good! I know they aren't from tonight since I saw your facebook status said you dined mostly on wheat bread!

Taylor and Kristin Williams said...

Chicken Enchiladas are one of my favorite foods in the entire world so I'm so excited to try this out! :)