Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

Once upon a time, I was in a conversation with someone I love dearly and the subject of Cinqo de Mayo came up. She wondered aloud, "I wonder when Cinqo de Mayo is this year?" I couldn't help myself.... "probably on the 5th of May" I chortled. Of course she was wondering which day of the week it fell on but I've never let her live it down. I'm a good friend like that!  And because she loves and needs easy delicious dinners, (she's a LOT busier than I am) this one's for her 

How far this recipe has fallen from the lofty heights of The French Laundry, but I must say, it IS a tasty bite. And while I normally use very few processed products, sometimes you can get as good or better ingredients pre-made and save yourself a great deal of time. Alton Brown said he buys Teriyaki sauce for that reason, and that's good enough for me. This is a quick way to make a really delicious and satisfying meal.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
chicken stock
chili powder
garlic or garlic powder
corn tortillas
monterey jack cheese
green enchilada sauce

The corn torillas I use are from La Tortilla Factory which I buy at Publix. They are actually corn and wheat tortillas and are thicker and moister than most packaged corn tortillas available.  The salsa is my favorite Jack's Special Salsa (mild because I'm wimpy like that) which I've found in a number of stores locally. Be aware though, there are no artificial preservatives used so once opened, the refrigerator shelf life is much shorter than say, something that comes in a jar. The only Monterey Jack cheese I ever use is Whole Foods 365 brand. I used to hate MJ cheese because I thought it had no flavor, 365 does, and it is wonderful and resonably priced. Finally, the green enchilada sauce I used was  Ingle's Laura Lynn brand (Foodies- "Don't hate! Celebrate!"). You can use anything made primarily with green chiles and tomatillos, or make your own. I like this brand because it tastes remarkably like my favorite Taqueria's Pork and green chile sauce, without the pork of course.

It's Cinco de Mayo and I know this isn't "authentic" Mexican food but hola! to my mexican amigos if you are still following. One day I'll do what it takes to make the perfect dark mole... that could be a lifetime goal and actually more complex than some French Laundry dishes. But for now, back to the Enchiladas!!

First you season a mix of water and chicken stock with the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder (or minced garlic) taste it before you put the chicken in and adjust to taste. Add the chicken breasts whole and SLOWLY bring them to a simmer, then turn the heat down. The idea is to cook them through to 180 without boiling, which makes them tough and dry. This can easily be done a day or two before then refrigerated or, you can use left over roast chicken for this.  Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the poaching liquid and when cooled enough, take two forks (or your clean fingers)  and shred the meat into ... shreds. (Sorry no pictures of that part.)  Add back to the pan (sautee some onions first if your initials aren't CMA or if you aren't in a hurry). Add the meat and add salsa to taste, season with salt and pepper. My chicken was a little dry so I added some wonderfully good schmaltz, which I had on hand from making chicken stock, and fixed it right up.  While all that's going on, bring the tortillas to room temperature.

Shredded chicken with salsa and seasoning

Spray a baking dish with non stick spray. With clean hands take a tortilla and fill it with a bit less than 1/2 c of chicken.

Then wrap it up so it's like a cigar, careful not to break the tortilla.

Place it in the baking dish with the "seam" side down. It looks so lonely doesn't it? : (

I'm so lonely... No enchilada friends to play with...

That's better!
Then comes the dousing with green enchilada sauce. This stuff is mild and has just the right about of tang to liven things up a little.

Spread the freshly grated Monterey Jack on top. Pop into a 350 oven until it's a little browned and bubbly

Could have browned a bit more. We were hungry!
Serve 1 or 2 and top with your choice of goodies. I used the salsa and a bit of creme fraiche which is the super sexy silky gorgeous sister of sour cream. Sloppy plating but as I said, we were hungry!

To stretch this out, you could serve with rice and black beans (yum!) or a salad. It's one of our favorite dishes and is super easy to make, reheats well and is just all round yummy.

Happy Cinqo de Mayo

See you soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sally! This is the best blog EVER!!!! I love your knowledge, delivery and writting style!!!!!! Keep on posting and educating us non-chefs how it's done and making it FUN!!!!!