Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-chicken Enchiladas

How's about a food post, eh?
Mexican is my absolute favorite cuisine.  I love the cheap stuff, I love the expensive stuff, and I love to make it at home.  I make some killer nachos, but enchiladas are probably my favorite dish.  Chicken enchiladas are actually really easy to make -- I had these done and on the table in under 40 minutes -- and if you find yourself a good prepared sauce, then you're set.

I'm a big fan of Rick Bayless' enchilada sauces.  He makes an enchilada sauce that comes in a pouch, and another one that comes in a tall jar.  Tonight I used the jarred one.  Now before I'm crucified for copping out on enchiladas by using a prepared sauce (it's practically the star of the dish), let me just say that I have tried so many different enchilada sauce recipes.  I have reconstituted so many dried peppers, pressed them through fine-mesh strainers, blended till my head was about to explode.  I just can't find a good one that I can make myself.  I'm still searching though.  I think if I find the right dried pepper combination, I will be set.  I have a method down for them.  But in the meantime -- especially on a weeknight -- a high-quality prepared sauce it is.

So here's my recipe for fast and easy chicken enchiladas.

First -- buy yourself a rotisserie chicken.  Or, if you have some time, poach a few chicken breasts in chicken stock in a slow cooker on high for 1 1/2 hours.  Toss in some garlic and onion for flavor if you want, but you could even do this with water if you didn't have chicken stock.  Figure about one chicken breast per person.

Then shred the chicken with two forks.

Chop up a small yellow onion (for one rotisserie chicken I use an onion a little bigger than a golf ball) and one jalapeno.

Squirt some vegetable or canola oil into a skillet, heat it up, and drop in the veggies.  Saute until they
are soft and the onion is translucent.

Next, shred some cheese.  I like monterey jack for chicken enchiladas.  I think cheddar can melt a little on the oily side, but if you like cheddar, well honey, shred some cheddar.

And what is Maraea doing while all this is going on, you might ask?  This:

That's my girl.

Next, dump your shredded chicken into the skillet with your veggies.  Spoon some of the enchilada sauce over top and mix it all up.  You want to sauce the chicken just enough to give it a coating.  You don't want your chicken swimming in sauce.  Make it look like this:

Oh, yum.

Next you want to take a tortilla (I prefer flour after many fail enchiladas made with corn), and put a little bit of the shredded cheese down first.

And then some of the chicken mixture on top of that.

Roll it up, and place it seam-side down in a baking dish.

Here's how much of a fail blogger I am -- I forgot to sauce the bottom of the dish with enchilada sauce.  These didn't turn out bad, but it definitely helps with the non-stickness.


Repeat until you're out of chicken and cheese stuffingy goodness.

Now, this next step is very important.  Spoon some sauce over the edges of the enchiladas.  Why?  If you don't, they will get crunchy in the oven.  No bueno, trust me.

Want an update on Maraea?  Here she is, mommy's little helper.

Ok, so now you've just got to finish saucing your enchiladas.  Then you want to top them with the rest of your cheese.  If you're a cheesehead, go ahead and go overboard.  But you really don't need to.  Simple is a good thing.  But, so is cheese.  So I digress.  Top as your heart desires.

Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.  Or, until they look like this:

Yeah, baby.  Come to mama.

Time to eat!

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