Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Enchilada Fiesta!

Last weekend I set out to craft my very own spicy chicken enchiladas, complete with an adobo chili sauce and baked to tender perfection. The pressure was on; Quinn's mother slaves away for hours on her own mole enchiladas that seemed impossible to compete with. After hours of meticulous chopping, stirring, and stuffing, the enchiladas were a resounding success! Dripping with fiery rojo sauce and oozing with cheese, these babies are going on the record as one of my best dishes to date.

With the puffed up pride of my first attempt still fresh in my mind, I suggested to a few friends that we throw a little fiesta with food prepared by yours truly. Five people became ten, and ten became twenty. Suddenly I was tossing fried tortillas and juggling handfuls of cilantro or onion in a cramped, overheated kitchen. My booze-fueled guests snacked on chips and dip as I struggled to maintain my cool. Lo and behold, I somehow pulled it together and made three delicious batches even better than the first!
Note: In the future, I would prepare almost all of these ingredients ahead of time, especially if you have a house full of friends waiting to chow down.

(makes 1 batch, 12 enchiladas)
loosely adapted from The Skinny Taste (not quite so "skinny")

Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce  
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
Chicken Filling
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz shredded chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 large clove garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup cilantro for topping 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a nonstick pan, spray a little bit of oil and sauté the garlic. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, chipotle chilis, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you taste the sauce; the chilis can make it spicier than you would like if you're not careful. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until you're ready to use. (This is when you can save the sauce for a later date. Throw it in some Tupperware and you're good to go.)

For the chicken, heat vegetable oil in another medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add chicken, cilantro, oregano, cumin, cayenne, tomato sauce, chicken brother, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Note: You may use pre-cooked shredded chicken from the store, or make some yourself. My good friend Heruy helped the process along by throwing a ton of chicken in a croc pot with chicken broth and onions for several hours. We shredded the chicken together and used that for the enchiladas, but store bought works, too. This can also be done a day or two beforehand, if you're pressed for time.

Here is where the dish becomes decidedly less "skinny". When I first made the enchiladas for Quinn and I, we had no trouble rolling up the corn tortillas with the chicken mixture. In the sweltering, bustling kitchen at Heruy's house, my tortillas began to fall apart. I decided to fry the tortillas for a few seconds on each side in vegetable oil. This keeps the tortillas from breaking apart when stuffed with chicken.

Once your tortillas are fried and cooled down on paper towels, take a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture and roll up the enchiladas. Place seam-side down on a greased baking dish and lay in a row until the dish is full. Generously spread your spicy adobo sauce over the enchiladas and top with cheese. 

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Once the dish has cooled a little, top with some cilantro and sour cream and serve to your ravenous guests! Optional sides: re-fried beans, Spanish rice, friend plantains (Quinn's addition to the party), and guacamole. Don't forget to provide some ice cold Corona with a slice of lime. Olé!


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