Wednesday, April 3

Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of those dishes which eluded my recipe forte for a rather long time. It always came down to the sauce and not wanting to buy jarred "enchilada sauce". Recently I discovered enchilada sauce is just as easy as homemade pasta sauce! And it is very easy to adjust the spice or heat level for your taste. This is one of those recipes that you will learn and wonder why you thought it would be more complex.

Makes 14-18 enchiladas
Full time 1 1/2 hours (if using already cooked chicken) 2 1/2 hours (if using raw chicken, includes cooling time)

You will need:

3-4 lbs. chicken leg quarters (or 4 cups shredded cooked chicken)
2 cans 28oz crushed tomatoes
1 can chillies in Adobo (you will only use 2 or 3)
14-18 6" corn tortillas
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup chicken stock (if using raw chicken save 1 cup from cooking)
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Let us begin

If using raw chicken, if not skip these next steps. In a large pot place raw chicken and fill pot with cold water.

Bring water to boil, over high heat.

Reduce heat to simmer and let cook 30 minutes.

Drain pot, reserving 1 cup of broth.

Allow chicken to cool until you can touch it. Remove chicken from bone and discard bone along with skin.

Using two forks, shred chicken into thin pieces.

If using cooked chicken start here.

In a medium pot heat olive oil over medium heat.

Once heated add in garlic and onion. Cook 5-8 minutes or until they are nice and soft.

While this cooks down, finely chop the chilies.

Add chilies and spices into pot. Stir around to completely coat onions.

Add in crushed tomato, stir very well to fully incorporate.

Cover, reduce heat to simmer and let cook 30 minutes.

Carefully lift lid to avoid steam. Give a quick stir and taste for seasoning.

Here is a good rule, if the first thing you taste is tomatoes, you need more seasoning. This is not a really tomato heavy flavor, the first thing you should taste is a nice smokey spice flavor.

To achieve this add cumin and salt in small increments to balance out the flavor.

Add chicken stock, stir well, remove from heat and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 350.

Ladle roughly 1/2 cup if sauce into a 9x13 baking dish and tilt dish around to coat bottom.

Ladle a small amount of sauce into a high sided dish and submerge 1 tortilla in it.

Remove to a plate and add in a small hand of shredded chicken.

Top with 1-2 tbsp of shredded cheese.

Roll and place in baking dish, seam side down.

Continue until you can no longer comfortably squeeze rolls into pan. They may crack a little, this is okay.

Cover with remaining sauce.

Cover evenly with remaining cheese.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbles a nice golden color.