On Friday, Ryan and I went out to one of our favorite local Mexican spots. When we got there, the place was dark. The sign on the door read: We've moved. I was still trying to process it when I read the next sign. Turn around. Across the street, light poured from the windows and the door swung open as people bustled in from the cold. Their new space is beautiful, so much nicer than the cafeteria level decor they'd had for the last 20+ years (yes, I've been going there for that long). We'll definitely be going back more often now that it's a pleasant place to eat. I had enchiladas, which were completely delicious. Of course, it also reminded me that I have a homemade enchilada recipe which is also completely delicious. And which I've been keeping from you due to sheer laziness and a lack of decent photos.
See? Messy. They really only look so sloppy because I used queso fresco instead of cheddar or monterery jack. It's delicious, but it certainly isn't pretty. But these enchiladas are really tasty and will definitely tide you over just in case your favorite Mexican place hasn't just moved to a lovely, cosy new spot.
adapted from Cook's Illustrated May & June 2005 issue
1 1/2 T vegetable or corn oil
1 onion chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T chili powder
2 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
2 t sugar
12 oz of chicken, I used breasts but you could use thighs
1 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 oz of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - this was about 4 peppers for me
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated for filling plus 3 more for topping
In a large pan, heat the oil to medium. Add the onion and cook until it's softened and starting to brown about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and sugar and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Chop the chicken into bite sized slices and add to the pan. Toss it so it is coated with the spices. Then add the tomato sauce and a 1/2 C of water. Chop up your chipotles and add them along with the adobo sauce. Bring it up to a simmer and stir to make sure the chicken is all separated so it doesn't clump together. Cook, stirring frequently for 6-8 minutes. Try to separate out about a cup or so of sauce, by shoving the chicken to the side, so that you have a bowl of mostly sauce and a bowl of mostly chicken mixture. If you really want you can strain the sauce, but it is a huge pain in the ass and makes me dread making the recipe. Also, it is a nightmare to clean the strainer after. So feel free to go informal with it. Remove from heat, pop in the fridge to cool.
Preheat your oven to 300. Spray the tortillas (10 of them) with cooking oil. You can brush it on if you don't have a spray. Make sure you get both sides. Pop them on baking sheets in the oven for 4 minutes, until they are pliable. You can roll cold tortillas they will break on you. Once you take them out, increase the oven temp to 400 degrees F. Okay, get a large baking dish, a 13x9. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Then take the chicken mixture and mix it with your shredded cheese. Fill the tortillas (I scooped the filling into all the tortillas and then rolled to make sure I was being fair about the filling). Then roll each one up and tuck it into the pan. Cover with the remaining chicken-free sauce. Finally, sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes.