Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Did you know that chicken enchiladas are not always prepared with a tomato-based sauce? Well, here's a traditional recipe, cooked in Mexican kitchens all over the country, that uses butter, broth, and sour cream to form the sauce. There is no tomato at all in it, unless you choose to add some pico de gallo on top or as a side dish. It is really really REALLY good, and once you've fixed it I guarantee that it will become a favorite with your family, too.

Note that if you want to take a shortcut you can substitute 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup and 1 Cup of chicken broth to replace the flour, butter and broth "gravy" mixture called for in this recipe. It's still very good, and it's quicker. This recipe makes 6 servings (2 enchiladas per person).

CREAMY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS:

Ingredients:
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 Cups shredded cooked chicken (about 3 chicken breast halves)
  • 1/2 Cup minced onion
  • 12 oz shredded cheese (Cheddar is good, but Chihuahua is better)

Sauce:
  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles, drained
  • Vegetable oil for frying tortillas
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions and 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat, and then fry each tortilla about 5 seconds per side until they are soft, not crispy. Do them individually and add more oil as required. Drain on paper towels and keep them warm.

Divide the chicken, minced onion and 10 oz of the cheese among the tortillas, placing it toward the edge of each tortilla. Roll up each tortilla and place seam side down in a greased 3-quart shallow baking dish (13" by 9" works well).

FOR THE SAUCE: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat; do not let it brown. When butter is melted and slightly sizzling, add the flour and whisk until it begins to boil and thicken. Add the broth, stirring continuously. When the sauce is smooth and starting to thicken, lower the heat and add the drained chiles and sour cream. Stir occasionally until it is thick. DO NOT LET IT BOIL!

Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and bake for 20 minutes. Top with the rest of the cheese and bake for a further 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

ALTERNATE SAUCE:

Combine 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup and 1 Cup of chicken broth in a pan over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Add 1 Cup sour cream and the drained chiles. Cook until hot but NOT BOILING. Pour over the enchiladas and bake as above.

You can also substitute flour tortillas in place of corn tortillas, in which case you must skip the frying step. Just fill the tortillas, roll them up, cover with sauce and bake.

Use the green onions and cilantro to garnish. Pico de gallo is an optional garnish, and also is very good as a side dish.

Served with a nice garden salad, this is really a perfect meal for a lazy summer day.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email lahuerita2@gmail.com (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)