Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

Wife Zube and I fell in love over Mexican food and almost ten years later we both still enjoy it very much. Ironically, other than chips, salsa, tacos, and guacamole we don't eat that much of it at home. So I thought I would do something about it!

The thought of melted cheese with a tangy sauce bubbling in an oven makes my tummy growl (this is basically a queso fundido). Wrap the cheese in corn tortillas and smother with the sauce and you have enchiladas. These are easy, cheap, and fun to make!

I bounced back and forth between a Tex-Mex tomato-cumin style sauce and a tomatillo-based sauce, and we settled on the latter. Off to the grocery store I went and was quickly disappointed. While I didn't expect to find fresh tomatillos at this time of the year, I was hoping to find canned crushed ones. Nope. Just salsa verde. And while this is a tomatillo sauce its already got stuff added in and so I couldn't control the flavors as much as I wanted to. Welp, ya gotta roll with the punches sometimes. A purist would have turned away and made a sauce from scratch but I had two thoughts in mind 1) a good chance to do a post using some pre-made items in yummy home cooking and 2) I already had my heart set on ooey-gooey cheese and tomatillo sauce running down my chin as I feasted.

My product list for this dish: a can of salsa verde (*sigh*), cilantro, red onion, chicken thighs, jack cheese, corn tortillas, feta, greek yogurt (or sour cream), and garlic. If you are one of those people with pathological hatred of cilantro I pity you and feel free to omit it. Remember, it isn't your fault, only your gene's. I picked up the chicken thighs because I was going to boil and shred the chicken. The thighs have the most flavor and don't dry out like a popcorn fart in a windstorm like breast does. I also bought a block of cheese and not the pre-shredded bag. Why? Because I like my cheese to be cheese and not cheese with corn starch, potato starch, and other anti-caking additives. A box grater and 30 seconds and WHAM-O! I had my own bag of grated cheese, and it was only cheese.

In the photo we have sliced red onions for garnish, and minced red onion, cilantro, and garlic for the sauce. I just can't resist putting one of my favorite knives in the shot. Not uber expensive, but fits my hand and keeps an edge like you dream about. Well, like I dream about at least.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat I cooked the garlic, onion, and cilantro for a minute or two and then dumped in the can o' sauce. I added a half cup of chicken stock (you can use water instead) and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so to let the flavors blend.

I brought a pot of water to a simmer and cooked off my thighs (chicken thighs, not actually mine) and then shredded them by using two forks and pretending I was a puppy looking for a buried meat treat. When the chicken had cooled a bit I laid down a corn tortilla (microwaving the bag for 30 seconds makes them more pliable and easier to roll) and put a layer of shredded jack and chicken across the entire middle. I did about a 50% ratio on the mix. Make the layer big enough so that your tortilla overlaps by an inch or so when you roll it over. Into an oven-proof pan (in this case Corningware I stole from Ma Zube at some point) they went and I ladled the sauce over them. You want good coverage, but too much sauce can make it overly soupy. I crumbled some feta over the dish and scattered a smattering of the sliced red onion on top of the enchiladas. The oven was at 400F and the dish took about 20 minutes to cook. Actually I don't really remember how long, I just checked to see how they were doing... When they looked melted and delicious I plated them with black beans, guacamole, and some greek yogurt (a healthier alternative to sour cream):


  1. This post is perfect for our current location being in New Mexico and all. Being down here has also made me realize how much fresh tortillas can improve on dishes such as enchilladas or tacos. They are so fluffy and delicious i have been eating them all by themselves, and don't even get me started on sopapillas. Keep up the good work Mikey, loving making all these wonderful things....oh and eating them too

  2. Fresh tortillas... yum. I spent an evening in Mexico at a taco bar watching this old lady running her torts through a press and then grilling them on a flat top. Absolutely the best tortilla ever. Then I ate an extremely hot pepper and couldn't taste anything else for the next hour.