I usually make sour cream based chicken enchiladas, but I wanted to try something different. I stumbled across this chicken enchilada recipe from Tide and Thyme. I have to say-these are the BEST enchiladas I've ever eaten. They're so flavorful and taste "fresher" than creamy enchiladas. Here's my adaptation of her recipe. I personally don't like pickled jalapenos, so I used fresh.
*Buy good quality tortillas. I bought local yellow corn tortillas. They tasted so much better than the normal commercial brand I usually use. Plus they roll much easier without tearing.
Adapted from: Tide and Thyme
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 Campari tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or substitute about 1/4 cup tomato of your choice
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
- 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (I used Cracker Barrel extra sharp WHITE cheddar)
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack or Sargento's "4-cheese Mexican Blend"
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
- cooking spray
- salt and ground black pepper
*Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa or taco sauce, guacamole, fresh cilantro.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Add onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt to saucepan and cook about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir often.
- Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar to the onion mixture. Stir for about 30 seconds.
- Next, mix in tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato.
- Once sauce starts to simmer, cook about 5-10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
- Add chicken breasts directly to the sauce. Spoon sauce on top of chicken.
- Cover and reduce heat to low.
- Cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked through-about 15-20 minutes. Internal temperature should register at least 160 degrees on the thickest part of the breast.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.
- Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. (This is the nectar of the gods. SO good.)
- Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside.
- Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- After the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces.
- Add shredded chicken to the onion mixture, along with 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and cilantro. Toss to combine.
- Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or a moist paper towel; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds.
- Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup and just "dipped" out the mixture.
- Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray.
- Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly (skip this step if you don't like the crunch).
- Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top.
- Top with the remaining cheese.
- Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
- Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns.
- Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.