This is what we had for dinner last night (and we’re having the leftovers tonight). I wanted to make chicken enchiladas and looked through a bunch of recipes to find one I wanted to use. Ultimately, I didn’t find the definitive recipe but all that perusing inspired me to put something together myself. Came out pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.
A couple of notes:
The method for cooking the chicken breast is not mine. I believe it came from Joy of Cooking originally and I got it off the SeriousEats website. It was titled something like “How to make tender, juicy chicken breasts every time”. It was easy and they definitely came out tender and juicy.
The best enchilada sauce is probably the one you make yourself. In my opinion, it should be based on peppers, not tomatoes. The best sauce is when you take some of those big dry chiles that you see in the Mexican food section of the store, toast them a bit on a dry skillet and then soak them in very hot water for 30 minutes or so. Once they’re soft you puree them in a food processor and then do what you have to do to turn the puree into a tasty sauce. However, there are also good enchilada sauces available ready made. I grew up being taught that Las Palmas brand was the only enchilada sauce worth using. I don’t know if it’s the only one, but, it’s damn good so why stray? However, down here we can’t always get Las Palmas. I found this in the store yesterday and it filled the bill nicely:
Doña Chonita makes several other chili-based salsas that we want to try as well. The main thing is to pick a sauce that is primarily chiles. If there are tomatoes in the ingredients list, make sure they come after the chiles.
This recipe looks long but it’s really very simple. I just like to enumerate every step.
Okay, here we go.
Chicken Enchiladas ala Siempre Sábado
3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 or 3 serrano chiles, minced
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small Roma tomato, finely diced (optional)
1 pt. sour cream
8 10″ flour tortillas
1 can (green bean size can) black olives, sliced
1 can (about 350 mls) enchilada sauce (your choice)
1 cup loosely packed shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup loosely packed shredded chihuahua cheese (or Monterey Jack)
Cook the chicken breasts:
1.) With the side of a wide knife blade, pond or press the chicken breasts so they are fairly uniform in thickness. They don’t have to be flat like if you were making chicken kiev, just uniform thickness, abut 3/4″ thick.
2.) Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet
3.) Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag and shake to mix. Drop the chicken breasts in the back, twist the top closed and shake up to lightly coat the breasts. Shake off excess.
4.) When the oil is hot, drop the chicken breasts in. Cook for a minute or two and then flip over.
5.) Turn heat to low, cover pan and set the timer for 10 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID FROM THE PAN DURING THIS TIME PERIOD!!
6.) At the end of the 10 minutes, turn the burner off but leave the pan on the burner. Set the timer for another 10 minutes and again, DO NOT REMOVE THE LID FROM THE PAN DURING THIS TIME PERIOD!!
7.) At the end of the second 10 minute period, the chicken is done. Might want to cut into it just to make sure it’s not pink but it shouldn’t be. Remove the breasts to a cutting board.
Cook the filling:
1.) Light the burner under the chicken skillet.
2.) When the oil/butter/chicken drippings are hot, dump in the serrano chiles and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.
3.) Add the garlic and continue to cook and stir.
4.) Add the tomato and cook an additional 30 seconds.
5.) Sprinkle flour over the contents of the pan and stir to make sure everything gets coated with flour.
6.) Add the sour cream and heat through, stirring occasionally.
7.) While the sauce is heating up, cut the chicken in to bite size pieces. Add to the sauce and continue to heat through.
Assemble the enchiladas:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.) Grease a 7×11 cake pan
2.) Lay out a tortilla.
3.) Spoon 1/8 of the filling in the lower half of the tortilla, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with 1/8 of the black olives. Fold the bottom half of the tortilla over the filling and then roll it up. Should be about 1.5″ across or so. Put enchilada in pan.
4.) Repeat with the remaining 7 tortillas.
5.) When the pan is full, pour enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle grated cheese over the sauce.
6.) Put in a 350 degree oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until the cheese has all melted and the enchiladas are heated through.
Serve with Mexican rice.