Remember that grilled chicken I made a couple of nights ago? Well, we enjoyed a little bit of that on that night, but the main reason I made that was to make a big batch of chicken enchiladas.
If you are looking for traditional Mexican enchiladas, you had best go elsewhere, because I will come out right now and tell you, that I’ve taken a few shortcuts and liberties with these. I’m not making my own sauce here, and I put some canned beans in mine, which I’m pretty sure isn’t done in a real, Mexican household.
But what I will tell you is that they are delicious, and they work quite well for me, because they don’t take up my entire day (or my entire energy) to make them. They also freeze really well, so on those days when neither one of us feels like cooking, we just take a couple out of the freezer, heat them up and serve with a salad.
Enchiladas also offer a lot of flexibility as to what you can (and want) to put into them. These ones will have two types of Mexican cheese—queso fresco and queso quesadilla. I really like the queso quesadilla melted over the top, so that’s what I’ve used, as well as a bit of that mixed into the more crumbly queso fresco, inside the enchiladas. I mentioned that I like to put beans into mine~ you can use black beans, pinto beans, pinquito beans, or what ever you like. I am also adding some chorizo with my chicken mixture, this time.
Whatever you decide to put into them, I highly recommend that all ingredients be ready, when it comes time to assemble them. Make it easy on yourself! Please note also, this is usually pretty messy and a bit time consuming, but I always think the results are so worth it.
For the ones I just made, here’s what I used. All ingredients amounts are approximate:
12 flour tortillas (I’ve mixed white and whole wheat flour ones)
16 ounces red chile enchilada sauce (I like Rick Bayliss’)
2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
¼ pound chorizo, casing removed
½ white onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, diced small
1 10-ounce can whole, green chiles, sliced lengthwise
1 or 2 15-ounce cans beans, drained, but not rinsed~ I’m using some pinquitos and some seasoned pintos, for this
5 ounces queso fresco cheese, shredded
5 ounces queso quesadilla, shredded, divided use
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup sliced olives
3-4 green onions, sliced width-wise
2½ ounces queso quesadilla cheese
Prepare a large baking pan or dish (13″x9″x2′ is good) by giving it a good coat of cooking spray. You might also need another small baking dish, just in case you manage to make more enchiladas than your pan will fit.
Mix all 5 ounces for the queso fresco and about 2½ ounces of of the queso quesadilla together. The remaining 2½ ounces of the queso quesadilla will top the pan of enchiladas before baking, so set that aside.
Remove the casing from the chorizo and place it into a small skillet, along with the white onion and jalapeño. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. When finished cooking, add to the shredded chicken and gently mix together.
When you are ready to assemble, get out a pie plate and pour the enchilada sauce into it. This is also probably a good time to pre-heat the oven to 350º F.
Dip a tortilla into the enchilada sauce and coat both sides. This will make the tortilla soft and pliable, and will also keep it moist during baking.
Place the wet tortilla directly into the pan. We’re going to roll them up right in the pan, and it’s going to save a whole lot of mess, believe me.
Put some chicken in there. This is probably a little bit too much, but we learn, as we go along. The first ones are usually really big!
Next, add a spoonful of beans.
Then, add a few strips of the green chile.
Top with cheese. Again, this is probably a bit, too much.
Tuck the ends on the sides in and roll, also tucking the ingredients into the tortilla, and place it seam-side-down in the pan. Yes, you are using your fingers. This is what I’m talking about when I say “messy.“
Continue those steps, until you run out of whichever, though usually the space to put them in, is the first thing to go.
I ran out of room this time, mainly because I’m trying to make as many as I can. So just have a small pan ready, in case you need it.
Sprinkle with cheese and garnish as you please. I love uncured black olives, cilantro and scallions.
Cover the top of the pan with foil and bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. Take the foil off and allow to bake for about 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes or so.
This makes 10-12 servings.
Serve. I find salad and wine make the perfect accompaniments.
Good and messy, until the very end.