Good morning everyone. Today’s topic is enchiladas. The type I’m going to share with you is a cross between enchiladas verdes and enchiladas suizas. They’re the only ones I regularly make at home and are, by far, my favorite! Because of my affinity for green chiles and tomatillos, I am generally disappointed with most restaurant enchiladas. This saddens me, not because I feel the restaurant is doing anything wrong, but because I never developed the passion for the mole and red sauces dominating the category. I may just have to dig in my heels and test test test some red sauce recipes until I come up with something I can truly enjoy. So, I guess, stay tuned for that one. But for now, let’s proceed to discuss, I believe, the reason my husband married me.
This is also a recipe I’ve been cooking since childhood and it has matured right along with me. Originally the chicken was boiled, as were the tomatillos, and the green chilies were canned. Now, nothing comes from a can and nothing gets boiled but it does take considerably longer to go from start to finish. I do, however, feel it is undeniably worth it. My strategy for making sure it’s not too cumbersome for a weeknight dinner is that I prep the heck out of it during the preceding week/weekend. With a little forethought it becomes a low stress show stopper with unbelievable depth of flavor.
The first thing I do is roast a chicken or turkey. I told you, this takes a lot of prep. Don’t fret though, a deli roasted chicken works just fine as does leftover roast turkey. This dish used to only follow a major holiday in which I had roasted a bird, but then my mom found me a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie at a thrift store and the course of history changed. There are two things I absolutely love about my rotisserie. 1) It makes the most delicious, flavorful, moist chicken I’ve ever eaten. And 2) I can use it outside! As I have mentioned before, I live in Phoenix, Arizona; home of triple digit weather from May to October. While I do love the heat, when it’s warm enough to pay for air conditioning, I do not want the oven on for 2-3 hours. During the summer I use my rotisserie, crock pot, or patio-living-convection toaster oven almost every day to keep the heat outside. If I could I’d put the clothes dryer out there too. Then, a bonus of using a whole bird is that you’ll be left with a carcass when it’s all done and you can boil that up for some delicious stock. I’ll probably share that one soon because I have a turkey carcass in my freezer and I’m almost out of stock…of stock.
There are a few notes that I’d like to share about the sauce too. First off, find the chile combination that pleases you the most and use it; and if you ever find Hatch chiles, TRY THEM!!! They’re a green chile grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico and they are just fabulous! I’ve never found them fresh, but if I ever do, I may need a private moment. Now, the original recipe called for some chicken stock to thin down the sauce and an egg to help it then set up in the oven. I have omitted them both because this salsa recipe yields 2-3 times as much sauce as you’ll need and I like to keep some in the fridge to top tacos, eat with chips, or whatever else one may do with salsa. If there was a raw egg in it, it would put the kibosh on such things. The excess salsa can be frozen and brought out the next time you’re jonesing for some enchiladas. It freezes beautifully. Another option is to make a few pans of enchiladas and put them, uncooked, in the freezer until the next time you’ve run out of dinner concocting imagination. Or cook them and make individual freezer meals. Believe me, this is one versatile dish.
And here we are:
¾ lbs tomatillos
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 anaheim chiles – stem removed
1 serrano chile – stem removed
1 pasilla or poblano chile – stem removed
1 medium onion – halved
½ tsp salt
1 bunch of cilantro
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup half & half
1 large tomato or 2-3 smaller ones
4 cups shredded chicken/turkey
1 onion – chopped
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese – shredded
Needed for assembly:
14+ corn tortillas
canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese – shredded
- Place cleaned tomatillos, garlic, chiles, and onion in a pan with sides, toss with a tablespoon or so of canola oil and roast at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the tomatillos are very soft.
- While vegetables are roasting, combine shredded chicken with the onion and cheese and set aside.
- Begin to lightly fry the corn tortillas over medium heat with a ½ tsp (or so) of oil. The oil isn’t absolutely needed. If you’re looking to cut a few calories, just heat the tortillas in a dry pan until they are soft and pliable.
- Take a fried/heated tortilla and use about 2 Tbs. of the chicken filling to make a line down the center of the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla and place, seam side down, in a 9”x13” baking dish.
- Once the vegetables are lovingly roasted, blend them with the salt, cilantro, lime juice, half and half, and tomato. The sauce will be very thick, but that works out just fine after it’s all baked together. If wanted, feel free to add ⅓ cup of chicken stock to thin it a bit.
- Pour enough sauce onto the pan of rolled enchiladas to cover the tortillas but not smother them. It’ll take a scant two cups. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top and bake @ 350 for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.
- Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting to serve.