It's been a long time since I've made enchiladas. I like cheese enchiladas (anything cheese is a winner in my book) and I like chicken enchiladas. I'm just not a fan of the red sauce. Green sauce is my preference. One afternoon while I was grocery shopping, I bought a can of enchilada sauce. I thought I had picked up the green version but somehow I ended up with red. (I can't won't tell you how many times that sort of thing happens....I'm not sure what goes wrong between the second my eyes see something and my hand picks it up and plops it into the cart).
To make a long story longer.....
I was thumbing through a pretty cool little cookbook called What Can I Bring? by Anne Byrn when I came across her recipe for Chicken Enchiladas. It called for salsa....I used the "unwanted" can of red enchilada sauce. Well, at least some of it.
It also called for two 4 oz cans of green chilies. Which I thought I had. Turns out one of them was actually a can of diced jalapenos. Where did those come from? Seriously, I didn't even know they existed. So I substituted one can of jalepenos for one of the cans of green chili. Which turned out to be a great.
These were the best enchiladas I've ever had. (I can't say they're "authentic" or anything cuz I've never really researched homemade enchiladas). They weren't too spicy. Lots of cheese...and the sauce had a great depth of flavor. Man, were they good! Ok, let me put it this way....Sir Sportsalot....the KING of anti-leftovers, actually requested these for dinner the next night.
YES!! Can you believe it? He actually WANTED leftovers! I just about fell over. But instead I just smiled (and jumped for joy inside). When they were all gone, he said to me..."I hope you wrote down what you did so you can make them again!"
Yes Dear. Of course
(apparently he doesn't know all that much about food blogging)
Chicken Enchiladas (with my minor alterations)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced or diced onion
1/2 roasted red bell pepper from a jar, chopped (a red bell pepper is what the cookbook says)
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (mine was sauteed in butter, parsley and lemon juice)
1 teaspoon cumin
4 oz mexican crema (or 4 oz cream cheese, cubed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 - 4 oz can of chopped green chilies (recipe called for 2 cans)
1 - 4 oz can diced jalepenos (not called for in the recipe)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of cilantro, packed (recipe said lightly packed. I happen to love cilantro)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red enchilada sauce (or salsa)
10 flour tortillas (not the giant ones...they have to fit in your casserole dish, remember?)
Lots of shredded cheese!!! I used mozzarella, cheddar and queso fresco. The cookbook say 2 1/2 cups of mexican style cheese. HAHAHAHA!! Ya right! I probably doubled that. (just sayin')
Preheat your oven to 375'F. Lightly spray a 13x9 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Metal is not recommended due to the acid in the tomatoes.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium - low heat. Saute the onion and red bell pepper, stirring frequently until the onion is soft. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in the chicken and cumin. Add the mexican crema and return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly until heated through. If using cream cheese, stir until the cream cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Place the chilies, jalapenos (if using), garlic, cilantro and oregano in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth (about 30 seconds or so). Add the chicken broth and enchilada sauce and continue processing a few seconds more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Check it out!! I ended up with a deep green (almost brown) sauce!! It made me kinda nervous at first but I forged ahead.
Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into the casserole dish
Set aside and get ready to assemble the enchiladas
Lay out your tortillas on the counter. Dividing the chicken filling evenly amongst them all, spoon the filling down the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle some cheese over the chicken filling
Roll up the tortillas and place them seam side down, into the casserole dish
(bad lighting....I swear the sauce was not that dark!!)
You will most likely have to really squeeze these suckers in there so they all fit....but that's expected
Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with more cheese. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, until the cheese is all melty and the sauce is bubbly.
Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving
I served myself 2 of them. But they were so filling that I could only eat one. The second one willingly became lunch the next day.
I wish I had more.
Oh ya....the author said that you can make a big batch (double the recipe). If you use a larger pan (roasting pan) then bake them at 350'F for almost an hour. Bring these babies to your next potluck or bbq and see who asks you for the recipe :)