Last Saturday we hosted a Mexican themed cooking night at our house. Ten of our closest friends arrived at our house, dish in hand, and we enjoyed an incredible Mexican feast. About a month ago I sent out an email to everyone seeing who would be interested in a dinner night, along with several recipes to choose from. Each couple got to choose the recipe that they wanted to bring.
The recipe that I am sharing with you today is one that our good friends Julie and Robert made, which also happened to be the main dish-the Chicken Enchiladas. I love these Chicken Enchiladas! I have made them several times before, but it’s one of those recipes that we devour before I can even snap a picture. I love that you can prepare this dish up to two days before hand by making the sauce and filling and refrigerating in an airtight container until ready to wrap and bake.
The Mexican Cooking Night was a huge hit. The food was incredible and the company was even better. We stuffed our faces, drank homemade margaritas and Mexican beer and chatted the night away!
Yield: 10 enchiladas
Sauce and Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 cans tomato sauce (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (4 ounces) pickled jalapeños, drained and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
Tortillas and Toppings:
10 corn tortillas (six-inch)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado, diced medium
5 leaves romaine lettuce washed, dried, and shredded
2 limes, quartered
For the sauce and filling: In medium saucepan over medium-high heat heat oil until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with spices, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and 3/4 cup water; stir to separate chicken pieces. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and flavors have melded, about 8 minutes. Pour mixture through medium-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on chicken and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside. Transfer chicken mixture to large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos, and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.
Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees.
Smear entire bottom of 13 by 9-inch baking dish with 3/4 cup chili sauce. Place tortillas on two baking sheets. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spray. Bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, about 4 minutes. Place warm tortillas on counter-top. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place 1/3 cup filling down center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla tightly by hand and place in baking dish, side by side, seam-side down. Pour remaining chili sauce over top of enchiladas. Use back of spoon to spread sauce so it coats top of each tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated cheese down center of enchiladas.
Cover baking dish with foil. Bake enchiladas on lower-middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, passing sour cream, avocado, lettuce, and lime wedges separately.
TO MAKE AHEAD: The sauce and filling can be prepared (step 1) up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container; however, the enchiladas should be assembled shortly before baking.
Source: Cook's Illustrated, May 2003
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