Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The ultimate chicken enchiladas

It's high time that I post a recipe for you.  I mean, really.  Where do I get off not sharing a new one with you for almost two weeks?  Tsk tsk. 

But if there had to be a drought followed by the most glorious rainstorm, this is that rainstorm.  The first recipe of 2012.  Heck, it could be the last of the year, too.  That's right.  If you only make one recipe in 2012, make it this one.

Or, do what I did and make this as your last home-cooked meal in 2011 and freeze a small batch for your first home-cooked meal in 2012.  You know, when you've arrived home from your honeymoon and want to delay shopping for groceries as long as possible.

I normally love food and grocery trips, so I blame my momentary lapse on honeymoon brain.  It's dangerous... and probably napping by a pool somewhere.

Anyway, to the food.  I was always skeptical of the Food Network show Tyler's Ultimate.  I mean, who does this guy think he is?  Are these recipes really the best ultimate version of that dish?  Um, yes.  Yes, they are.  That man is a genius. And that man is the source for these enchiladas.

Hearty, warm, and spicy!  The kick from the enchilada sauce is offset by the sweetness of the corn, a bit of a surprising ingredient to this first-time enchilada maker.  Chock full of tomatoes, onions, chilies, and savory smokey chicken.  Oh, and the cheese!

Cheesy cheese McCheeseington.   I don't care what kind of nonsense I need to write here as long as you understand that cheese is a very crucial component to these enchiladas.

Got it?


Now that we're on the same page, start your year off right this a to-do list that looks like this:
1. Make enchiladas
2. Eat enchiladas
3. Make more enchiladas... enough for the rest of the year.
4. Relax until 2013.

One year ago: Shrimp and spinach salad with bacon dressing
Two years ago: Old Bay roasted sweet potatoes

Chicken Enchiladas
(adapted, slightly, from Tyler Florence's recipe)
-makes 20 enchiladas... about 6 servings

A few notes: I subbed flour tortillas for corn tortillas because a) I think they taste better, and b) they roll much more easily without breaking.  I also omitted the chipotle chilies because I can't handle much spice, but use them as you like.  If you want some spice but not a ton of heat, I recommend a spicy enchilada sauce rather than the average mild stuff for middle of the road kick.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced (I omitted)
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
20 8-inch flour tortillas
1 3/4 cups enchilada sauce (about two 14.5oz cans)
1 cup shredded cheddar and jack cheeses

Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.

Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.

Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.

Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 glass baking dishes (I used a 13x9-inch and 9x6-inch with a littlle squeezing) with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place enchiladas, snugly fitting, in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Freezing instructions: Cook normally and allow to cool completely, coming to room temperature.  Wrap dish in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of foil.  Freeze.  To reheat, preheat oven to 400F.  Remove and discard layer of plastic wrap.  Return foil to cover pan.  Bake, covered, for 30 minutes or so.  Remove foil ad bake additional 15 to 20 minutes until cheese and sauce is bubbling.

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