Encliladas started out as a street food, a portable snack that brought together two standard staples of Mexican cuisine – the corn tortilla and chile sauce. This is the enchilada in its purest form – translation: “in chile.”
The enchilada as most people know it today is many things. Thanks to cooks in Mexico and the United States, the enchilada has grown into a meal that looks mighty appealing in these times. It’s economical (usually leftovers), it’s hearty (everyone likes a bubbly cheese meal that’s packing a little heat) and it easily lends itself to innovation.
Some think you can add whatever you want to an enchilada and top with the sauce. That’s the theory anyway, although many traditionalists have their opinions about the sauce and more.
A traditional enchilada sauce is a red mole with chiles. And a “just cheese” enchilada is considered traditional by most. But most enjoy theirs with chicken, beef, steak, or seafood.
Recipe for Chicken Enchiladas
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes
Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.
Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.
Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.
Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans.
Source: FoodNetwork.com; courtesy Tyler Florence; JSonline; 2009