Wednesday, December 9, 2009

winner winner, chicken enchilada dinner!

There's not many things better on this earth than truly delicious chicken enchiladas.  Mole, verde, or roja sauce - I love 'em all!  Sadly, there is A LOT of heinously bad Mexican food out there.  {Which, continues to boggle my mind, by the way... this isn't New Hampshire, people - its freakin' TEXAS!  If you can't make a decent tub of guacamole, than perhaps its time to chase a different pie in the sky.}

In an effort to save my palate (and my ass - wasted calories, no thank you!) from experiencing another mediocre enchilada, I've been on a Mission with a Capital "Mmmmm" for a fabulous recipe.  I am proud to say... after nearly two years of trial and error... By Jorge, I think I've got it!**

Enchiladas Verdes de Pollo
First, Three Things:

(1) Not to deter you right off the bat, but this one here's a two-parter.  The good news is that the first part involves that Sexy Beast of the Kitchen, the Crock Pot.  Meaning, you can get half of the prep work finished way before you tucker down to actually assemble and cook the yumminess.  Part #1 could even be completed a day or two in advance.

(2) If you read (1) and thought Boo, Hiss, Crock Pot!, you could skip the slow cooking all together and shred up some rotisserie chicken.  The smokiness would be nice, BUT your chicken and onions are going to miss out on hours of marinating and tenderizing... so this is a Simplify At Your Own Risk Situation.

(3) I'm sorry to say, the finished product is not pretty.  If you are trying to impress your Mother in Law with your Mad Martha Skillz, this isn't the recipe for you.  A tasty delight of a dish?  You've got it.  A candidate for food photography awards?  No dice.

Ingredients
- 1 pound+ of boneless, skinless chicken tenders (I've been using about 1.1/1.2 lbs)
- 1 12oz bottle of green taco sauce (I like the medium-heat La Victoria) (also note: this is taco sauce, not salsa)
- 1 large onion, sliced into thick rings (do NOT chop)
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 T. chili powder
- a good sprinkling of kosher salt and ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 16oz jar of tomatillo salsa verde (make sure its a salsa you enjoy on its own)
- 1-2 c. shredded "Latin" cheese (I like a mix of Queso Quesadilla, Asadero, and Manchego - Sargento also makes a good "Authentic Mexican Artisan Blend" of shredded cheeses which includes the three above plus Gallego and Anejo Enchilado... I just happen to like a bit more emphasis on the Manchego!)
- corn tortillas (you'll only make 8-10 enchiladas with this recipe but plan on ruining at least 2 or 3 tortillas - so make sure you purchase some extra)  (also note: you don't want the super small "street vendor size" corn tortillas - there needs to be enough room for the stuffing and for the ends to form a tube shape)
- 1 c. chicken stock

In the Crock Pot...
Space the raw chicken tenders evenly on the the bottom of your slow cooker.  Pour the entire bottle of taco sauce over the chicken.  Layer the onion rings on top of the sauce.  Pour the water over the onions and sprinkle the chili powder, salt and pepper over the entire kit-n-kaboodle.  This week, I threw a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes in there too - and I felt that was a nice addition.  You could also toss in some fresh cilantro, if your chosen salsa verde doesn't contain enough for your liking.  Cook contents for 6.5 hours on Low.

Once the Crock Pot is Finished...
Remove the chicken tenders with a slotted spoon and finely shred them into a mixing bowl.  I find the best way to shred chicken is by employing two opposing forks and a dash of reckless abandon.  Tear, tear, tear!  Mix in half of your cheese (1/2 cup or 1 cup or anything in between) with the shredded chicken.  Tip: its best if the chicken has had a little time to cool so that the cheese doesn't begin melting when combined in the mixing bowl.  Set the mixing bowl aside.  Prepare a casserole dish (I used a 9x13in. Pyrex) with olive oil mist or PAM.

In a blender...
Pulse together the cooked onion (and cilantro / tomatoes / extra additions if you were so inclined) and the garlic with about half the remaining crock pot liquid (discard the rest) and slightly more than half the jar of salsa verde (the rest is yours to enjoy elsewhere!).  Set mixture aside.

In a small skillet or pot...
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer, then reduce to lowest oven setting.  Taking one at a time, submerge tortillas until moist - only about 2-5 seconds on each side.  This is where things get tricky.  There is a very fine line between Deliciously Seasoned Tortilla and Crumbly Tortilla of Death.  Where that line is depends on the heat of the broth, the length of time in the broth, and the freshness of your tortillas. This is why we bought a few extra tortillas.  Trial and error... such fun!  Tip: try using your fingers to dunk the tortillas - I found that tongs tend to rip and puncture.  Laying the moistened tortilla immediately onto a flat surface near the prepared casserole dish, spoon the chicken and cheese mixture into the center of the tortilla.  Roll up the mixture and place the tube seam-down in the casserole dish.  You should have about 8-10 tubes.  Don't worry if you get some rips - it'll all bake together in cheesy, tangy goodness!

Once all the tortilla tubes are assembled in the casserole dish...
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the tubes.  Then pour the salsa mixture from the blender over the cheese and the tubes.  Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until enchiladas are bubbly and piping hot.



Serve with black beans and/or Spanish rice.  And a side of Terrier.




**which, if this is the only productive thing that comes from my current state of unemployment, will be so totally worth it.

12 comments:

  1. oh please, dont use the manchego cheese for cooking!!! is best just with some grapes and wine!!!or with some seeds bread...i´m spanish,a cheese lover and i know what i am telling to you....

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  2. "I find the best way to shred chicken is by employing two opposing forks and a dash of reckless abandon."

    You're a riot! Love your cooking style and down to earth directions. These look amazing.

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  3. This sounds amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. I love any recipe that involves the crock pot-something about knowing that half of my work is already done for me by the crock pot fits my cooking style. I love reading your blog, you are hilarious!

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  4. Yum. I love me a good enchilada, but, find them so hard to make during the week. This isn't to say I've busted them out over the weekend lately either. Hi, I'm a kitchen slacker these days!

    Love the picture of the pup!

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  5. "By Jorge" cracked my ass up! It's all about the subtle humor my friend.

    The enchiladas look delish. Good Mexican food is hard to find in Florida, which makes this transplanted California girl very, very sad.

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  6. yummmy!! Sounds amazing! maybe one of these days I will give that cooking thing a try.

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  7. oh thank you for this delicious blog! the hubster and I are always looking for new mexican recipes!!!!
    Also, question, have you ever made homemade cheese dip? and if so what type of cheese do you use?

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  8. Well we do have one good Mexican restaurant in New Hampshire... ok, point taken. And thanks for the recipe - I will definitely be making these soon!

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  9. Enchiladas with the green sauce are my favorite!!!

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  10. Yum! Those look great. I featured a really easy chicken enchilada recipe on my blog a couple weeks ago...it doesn't use green sauce, but it is really good!

    http://www.duolynoted.com/2009/10/fce-chicken-enchiladas.html

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  11. ohmigod these sound amazing. green sauce all the way!

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  12. I am having a dinner party Saturday with my new pottery from Mexico. Enchiladas were on the menu, but I had no recipe. Consider it done - these look amazing!

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happy little comments!