Friday, March 5, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I will find any excuse to make Mexican food. Having some friends over for game night this past weekend was one of them. In the time it took to make them (a LOT of time) was well worth it in the end. If you are making this for a group of hungry people whether family or friends, I would suggest having some appetizers ready ahead of time or beginning this 2 hours before you want to eat it. Yeah, it takes me that long from start of prep to finish. That includes having all of the vegetables chopped ahead of time too. But please trust when I say that it is well worth the time to make these!! They taste even better than restaurant enchiladas! They are so authentic and delicious. I think the picture speaks for itself. That red sauce is the best and I am so glad I found a fellow blogger who shared a recipe to make it!

Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally America's Test Kitchen

1 medium onion, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sugar
1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)
1 cup water
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend (or your favorite), divided
1/2 cup minced, fresh cilantro
10-12 soft corn tortillas (6-inch)
cooking spray

Combine the onion, jalapenos and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add in the garlic cloves, seasonings and sugar. Mix well and cook until just fragrant (about 30-45 seconds). Pour in the tomato sauce, water and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce temperature to medium-low. Gently place the chicken breasts into the sauce mixture and cover with a lid for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Thicker chicken takes longer. Transfer chicken to plate to cool.

Place a strainer inside of a large mixing bowl and pour saucepan mixture into it. Press into the vegetables to extract as much excess liquid as possible. Leave the sauce in the mixing bowl and pour vegetables in a separate large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the liquid mixture to the vegetables immediately.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish. Shred the chicken with a fork and add to the vegetable mixture. Mix in 1 cup of the cheese and the cilantro and combine well.

Stack tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the microwave for 40-50 seconds to soften them and make them manageable to roll without tearing. Then, spoon in 1/3 cup (or adequate amount) of chicken mixture evenly down the center of each shell one at a time. Roll it up tightly and place into the glass baking dish side by side. Lightly spray the tortillas and place in oven for 7 minutes.

This is where it gets tricky: Remove and pour liquid mixture over to coat each tortilla and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Reduce heat in oven to 400 degrees, cover with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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