Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas


The best way to express love is sometimes a diamond ring and sometimes a box of chocolates.

And always a plate of enchiladas.

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Sour cream chicken enchiladas to be exact.

Whenever I want to serve up something special for friends or family, I almost always choose this dish.  There’s just something about its creamy-saucy-cheesiness that says, “I love you and appreciate you.”

And since I will be away for a week, what better food to leave my husband to nibble on while I’m gone?

The best thing about this recipe?  No canned soup!

Yes, I know.  A can of Cream of Chicken makes for a faster meal.  But do you really want to digest a jiggly yellow substance that contains DEHYDRATED MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, and CHICKEN FAT?  (Didn’t think so, but, trust me, this sour cream sauce will only require ten minutes of your time.)

Hope you enjoy these enchiladas as much as we do!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Makes 19 enchiladas, serves 6-8

PREPARATION

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

To the skillet add:

-1 medium onion, chopped

-2 medium chicken breasts, cubed

-2 medium cloves of garlic, minced

-1-2 long green chilies, diced

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon cumin

Saute for 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked though.  Scrape chicken mixture into a separate bowl and set aside to cool.

Cook’s Note: To save time, you can use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.  Just stir the chicken into the onion mixture at the very end just to warm it up.

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In the same skillet, melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter.

Lower heat to medium and whisk in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour until the mixture is smooth.

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Whisk this “roux” continuously and let it to come to a bubble.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Slowly pour in a little bit of low sodium chicken broth and whisk vigorously until smooth.

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Add a little more broth and whisk again until smooth.

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Whisk in the rest of the broth until smooth.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and cook the sauce for another 3-5 minutes, stirring often. 

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(What are those little green and red bits?  Sometimes I like to add a few tablespoons of my Green Chile Sauce in along with the broth.)

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Turn off heat and stir in 1/4 cup chopped green chilies and a cup of sour cream.

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Now get yourself a big ol’ block of Colby jack and grate at least half of it.  (Or do this step ahead of time.  Or find a helper.)

Cook’s Note: I prefer to grate my own cheese because it melts so much lovelier.  Meanwhile, the pre-grated stuff contains potato starch to keep it from sticking.  Not so lovely.

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Dump chicken mixture onto a large cutting board and coarsely chop into bite-size pieces.

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Now for the tortillas!  Both flour and white corn tortillas work wonderfully in this dish.  This time, I went with corn.

Cook’s Note: Instead of wasting time and calories frying the tortillas, I just heat up a few at a time in the microwave for about a minute until they are limp enough to roll.

ASSEMBLY

Spray an 8×13 dish with cooking spray and evenly spread a couple tablespoons of the sour cream sauce along the bottom.

Place a couple teaspoons of both chicken mixture and cheese along the middle of a tortilla and roll up tightly.

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Place seam-side down into dish and repeat until the dish is full.  (I usually do two rows of eight and two along the bottom if there is a gap.)

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Never sure what to do with that leftover space in the corner?

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Cut a tortilla in half, fill and roll and place in pan.  Perfect fit!

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Pour sauce on top and spread with a spatula until all of the enchiladas are evenly covered.

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Sprinkle about a cup more of grated cheese on top and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.

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Serve with refried black beans and a plethora of fresh veggies like cilantro, tomato, lettuce, avocado and lime wedges.

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On a personal note, thank you for showing the love by reading!  If you ever come to visit our house, I’ll whip you up a batch of these. Deal?

The Recipe

Makes 19 enchiladas, serves 6-8

Ingredients

*2 Tablespoons olive oil

*2 medium raw chicken breasts, cubed

*1 medium yellow onion, chopped

*2 cloves garlic, chopped

*1/4 cup unsalted butter

*1/4 cup all-purpose flour

*1 teaspoon salt, divided

*1 teaspoon cumin, divided

*2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

*1/2 cup chopped green chilies

*1 cup sour cream

*2-3 cups grated Colby Jack cheese

*20 white corn tortillas

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, garlic, chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cumin and saute until chicken is cooked through (5-7 minutes).  Allow chicken to cool slightly before transferring to a cutting board.  Roughly chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.  Set aside.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook until bubbly.  Gradually whisk in broth until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.  Cook sauce until thickened, stirring occasionally to avoid lumps (3-5 minutes).  Remove sauce from heat and stir in chilies and sour cream until smooth.

Spray an 8×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Evenly spread a couple tablespoons of the sour cream sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Set aside.

Warm a few tortillas at a time in the microwave until they are soft (45 secs-1 min).  Place  a couple teaspoons of chicken and a teaspoon of cheese along the middle of a tortilla.  Roll tortilla up and place in baking dish seam-side down.  Continue with remaining tortillas.

Spread sauce over enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese and bake at 400 degrees until bubbly (about 30 minutes).

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Celebrate Hatch Chile with Green Chile Sauce!


Once upon a time, I did not like green chile…or any other color of chile, for that matter.

(Because I was a very naughty and ignorant child.)

Back in my chile-hating days, my family would drive an hour up the road to Hatch, New Mexico on Labor Day Weekend for the Hatch Chile Festival.  The minute we entered town, we could smell the aroma of chiles being roasted.  And to think I found the smell unappealing!

(Again, I had a few screws loose when I was ten years old.)

Now I would give anything to revisit that festival and taste everything in sight, not to mention bring home a truckload of roasted green goodness!  Unfortunately, since a September trip to New Mexico was not in the plans, I decided this past spring to plant an assortment of Serrano and Anaheim peppers instead.

I am sad to say that I picked the last of our bounty this past week, but I have been carefully stock-piling them over the summer for this purpose and this purpose alone:

Green Chile Sauce

Green chile sauce is pure magic!  Spoon it over skirt steak, use it as a base for stew, pour it over enchiladas, mix it in with your baby’s formula–use it whenever you feel like turning an ordinary dish into a vibrant and memorable dish.  For the past few years, I have faithfully followed Fine Cooking’s recipe for Green Chile Sauce because it has the best depth and balance of flavors.  I’ve made a few tweaks to it such as replacing the cornstarch with flour, but other than that, there’s no point in messing with greatness.

Right now, many grocery stores are offering fresh Hatch chilies, and better yet, are setting up their outdoor roasters with which to roast your chilies for you.  Furthermore, some stores even sell pre-roasted, pre-peeled green chilies!   So there’s really no excuse NOT to buy at least a pound of these pungent peppers!

There is also no excuse NOT to try your hand at making your own green chile sauce.  (I dare you to go back to the canned stuff!)

Green Chile Sauce (adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine)

Roast or (in my case) boil 1 1/2 pounds of chilies.  Sadly, in the interest of time, I boiled mine in a large pot filled halfway with water for about 15 minutes or until the skins got loose.

For maximum flavor, however, use roasted chilies.

Peel, seed and chop chilies.  (Use gloves or your hands will be on fire like mine were.)

Now for the tomatillos!

Such strange looking things.  These tomato-looking creatures are actually members of the gooseberry family, NOT the tomato family.

Remove the papery skins from 5-6 medium-sized tomatillos.  Don’t be alarmed by the sticky, waxy surface, though.  That’s just a tomatillo being a tomatillo.

Boil tomatillos for about 15 minutes until soft  (don’t over-cook them or they will be utter mush!) and dump them into a food processor or blender.

Process until smooth and pour into a large pot.

Add chilies along with 2 teaspoons minced onion, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  (It’s best that you use white pepper instead of black since it has a mellower flavor.)

Stir in 1 teaspoon dried oregano…

…and 1 quart of chicken broth.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cook’s Tip: Thanks to a clever tip from my clever friend, Pam, I’ve started making broth in the Crock-Pot.  That way, it can simmer for hours without me having to babysit it or add more water to it.  To give my broth an extra boost, I added a few whole Serranos to the pot.

Mix a few tablespoons of flour or cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of chicken broth and whisk into the sauce until completely incorporated–you don’t want chunks of slurry in your creation.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened slightly and reduced to 4 to 4-1/2 cups, about 5 to 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and a couple squirts of Tabasco sauce.  (My chilies were pretty HOT so I did not need the latter.)

Sniff, sniff!

I don’t know about you, but I can SMELL this photo, and it smells deeeeelicioso!

As for the taste, the tomatillos offer just enough tang to brighten the earthy flavor of the chilies and saltiness of the broth.  Someone get me a tortilla and grilled pork chop, STAT!

The Recipe

(Adapted from Fine Cooking)

*7 to 8 oz. tomatillos (about 5 medium)

*1 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth

*1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. fresh Anaheim chiles (6- to 8-inch-long chiles), roasted or boiled, peeled, and seeded, coarsely chopped

*2 tsp. minced yellow onion

*1 tsp. dried oregano (or 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano)

*1 clove garlic, minced

*1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste

*1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

*3 Tbs.flour, dissolved in 2 Tbs. broth

*Tabasco sauce, optional

Remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos and place in boiling water until soft, 5 to 10 min. Drain and purée in a blender or food processor. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 min. Add the flour slurry; stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened slightly and reduced to 4 to 4-1/2 cups, another 5 to 15 min. Adjust the seasonings if needed, including hot sauce if the sauce isn’t spicy enough to suit your taste.

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There’s still time to vote for me as the next Taste of Home’s Mrs. Holiday!  Click on this link, hit “Vote Now.”  Search for “Leilani Smith Halloween” and click “Vote for Entry.”  Voting ends September 7th.