Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

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.

Chicken Enchiladas
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.
*Once plated, add whatever toppings you like. Give me a dollop of sour cream and fresh cilantro, and I'm good to go!