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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce




Last month we had my parents over for a Sunday dinner, and I decided to make a Chicken Enchilada recipe I had my eyes on for a long time. I was pretty sure it would be great since it's from my America's Test Kitchen Complete TV Show Cookbook. At one point as I was making them, I worried that the amount of chicken (12 ounces) would not be enough to feed all 4 of us - especially with 2 men! I thought for sure the amount of filling would not stretch to fill all 10 corn tortillas. I soon realized that cheese is a major component of these enchiladas (bonus!!) I actually ended up having a little extra filling at the end that I baked in a separate dish!

These were really phenomenal! The sauce was the perfect blend of spices, and there was a distinct sweetness to these enchiladas. Bob and my mom actually thought I may have added some our dessert (to be revealed on Thursday) to the dish. The pickled jalapenos gave them a nice, slightly spicy kick. Everyone agreed that these were a success and should be added to the dinner rotation.

Thursday I will post a delicious side dish/dessert that completed Mexican Night!

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Serves 4 or 5

For the sauce and filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (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 breast meat (or thighs, approx. 4), 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
4 ounces pickled jalapenos, drained and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
8 ounces Monterey Jack (or sharp cheddar) cheese, grated (2 cups)

For the tortillas and toppings:
10 corn tortillas (six-inch)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 ounces grated Monterey Jack (or sharp cheddar) cheese (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream (I use light)
1 avocado, diced medium (optional)
5 leaves romaine lettuce washed, dried, and shredded
2 limes, quartered

1. To make the sauce and filling, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Pour mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on chicken and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside.

5. Transfer chicken mixture to a large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos, and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.

6. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300F.

7. Place tortillas on two baking sheets. Spray both sides lightly with cooking spray and bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, about 4 minutes. Then increase oven temperature to 400F. Meanwhile, spread 3/4 cup enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

8. To fill tortillas, add 1/3 cup filling to each and roll tightly. Place into baking dish side by side, seam-side down.

9. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and use a spoon to spread the sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated cheese down center of dish. Cover baking dish with foil.

10. 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.

Source: Adapted from the America's Test Kitchen Complete TV Show Cookbook


  1. Gorgeous photos! And I can see how the touch of sweetness totally makes these.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Oops caught a typo! What I meant to say was: I have chx enchiladas scheduled for next weeks meal plan. These look great. Photos are awesome.

  4. I love Cooks Illustrated . These look soooo good!

  5. Where did you fine YELLOW corn tortillas? We can only find white corn tortillas. I don't know if it really makes a difference taste-wise, but I think the yellow ones are prettier. What brand are they?

  6. Lisa - the brand is "Mission" - I just find them at Dierberg's! If you moved back to STL you could get the same ones ;)

  7. Your photos really looks delish and tempting. love to pair this one with fresh lettuce. Got to bookmark this one for this saturday treats.

  8. Sounds like a winning recipe! I am a total white sauce enchilada girl, but you may have me convinced to give these a try! :-)

  9. Yeah, Lisa should move back to St. Louis to get the yellow tortillas.....totally. :)
    Also, this "meal" was the best!

  10. These photos are making my mouth water! Can't wait to try this!

  11. Yum, these definitely would be a huge hit at our house or at a party or anywhere :)


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