Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seriously Good Chicken Enchiladas.

When I'm craving pizza, I get a Sammy's Pizza.  When I want Mexican food, I go to Mexico Lindo. But in the last two weeks I have had a pizza making party with friends and last night made Chicken Enchiladas. My expectations were not very high for the enchiladas, but after pulling them out of the oven I was delighted to find that they were easily the most delicious I've ever eaten.  Not only did I think they were great my good friend Denise also sang their praises. This is a real winner, these are so good you should all go out and buy me something nice for sharing. Just kidding. No I'm not. Yes I am...I like wine ALOT if you're feeling like maybe I'm serious though.

Don't even think about subbing flour tortillas here. You can either prebake these like I did or not depending on whether or not you like them a little bit crunchy. I did and they were great.

This makes more than enough filling for the 12 tortilla shells. I purchased Azteca brand corn tortillas 10 to a package and if I wanted to I could have squeezed about 4 more alongside the edge of the pan for leftovers. 


 Seriously Good Chicken Enchiladas

     1 medium onion, chopped fine
     2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine (you could also use jalapeno slices from a jar)
     1 teaspoon canola oil
     3 cloves garlic, minced
     3 Tablespoons chili powder
     2 teaspoons ground cumin
     3 teaspoons sugar
     1 15-oz can tomato sauce
     3/4  cup water
     4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
     1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
     1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
     1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
     1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
     12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
     cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Place the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through about 12-20 minutes. If you aren't sure of if it's cooked throughly, it should register 160 on a meat thermometer. 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. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onin mixture, and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup total of the cheese mixture, and the cilantro. Combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; 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. 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 pan from oven and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 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.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, etc.