Friday, May 4, 2012
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
My family loves Mexican food. I'd guess that at least half the foods I make are seasoned with Mexican spices and flavors. I've been making enchiladas for so long, it's just a part of what I do on a regular basis in the kitchen. I often get in a bit of a routine with our favorites though; it's easy to forget there are different versions to try. I went to check my recipe index to see if I had posted these already and realized that I have almost no enchilada recipes posted! I have no idea how that is possible, but I'll be paying closer attention next time I make them and I'll be taking some pictures so that I can share the recipes soon.
While I don't make many casserole style meals, this is one that the entire family loves. Red chile or green chile, chicken or beef, cheesy or packed full of vegetables, the possibilities are endless. Packed full of spicy heat or mild enough for everyone, enchiladas are the most versatile food I make.
In this version, I love the addition of just a small amount of sour cream. It adds a slight creaminess to the sauce that I really like. All of my children eat enchiladas like crazy, so it didn't surprise me that they all requested seconds of this dish. However, the request that I please make the exact same ones next week did make me laugh.
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Yield: 8-12 servings
3 lbs chicken, I usually use dark meat, but a mix of both or even just white meat works as well
1 small onion, chopped small
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced small
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
7 oz chopped green chiles
28 oz green chile enchilada sauce, a store-bought sauce is fine
1/2 cup sour cream
Optional: 1 1/2 cups cooked beans or 1 can, drained (I've used pinto, black and great northern)
8 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon granulated garlic, or garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15-20 white corn tortillas
Optional: fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish and sour cream for topping
Directions for cooking the chicken: Place the chicken in a large pot and fill with water. Cover and bring to a boil. After it is boiling, reduce heat to a low boil uncovered. Let the chicken cook until it is easily shredded with forks or a pair of tongs. I usually let it simmer about an hour. When it is falling apart, remove it a few pieces at a time to a large bowl and shred it. Pour the broth from the cooking pot over the shredded chicken, as you are shredding it, about a half cup at a time. This will prevent it from drying out. Add just enough liquid to be absorbed back into the chicken. Save the rest of the liquid from the pot and use it to make Spanish Rice or any other dish calling for chicken broth.
Making the enchiladas: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute until almost tender. Add the green chiles, and all of the spices. Add the chicken, beans, sour cream and 1/2 of the green chile sauce. Toss or stir well to combine thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tortillas in a stack on a cutting board. Cut them like a pie, into 6 triangles. Set aside. Pour a small amount of green chile sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 dish, turn the dish in your hands, just to coat the bottom with the sauce. Place one layer of tortilla triangles across the bottom of the dish and scoop about a third of the chicken mixture on top of it. Top that with a layer of cheese then another layer of tortillas. Repeat two more times, topping the last layer of tortillas with the remaining green chile sauce and then finishing with the final layer of cheese.
At this point, the pan of enchiladas can be covered with foil and refrigerated until ready to eat. If you do refrigerate the dish, simply add an additional 20-30 minutes to the covered baking time.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until the edges are bubbling and the cheese is completely melted. Let rest 10-20 minutes on the stove-top prior to serving. It will firm up and be much easier to slice after it has cooled a bit. Garnish individual servings with cilantro and sour cream just before serving. Enjoy!
FREEZER MEAL: I usually double this recipe and freeze the extra pan. If you are planning to freeze this, just layer everything into the pan and when it is cooled completely, cover with foil or lids and freeze. It takes almost no extra time to make the extra and it provides fantastic meals on days when I have no desire to work in the kitchen. 1-2 days before you plan to eat this, take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. Once thawed, bake as noted above.