Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chicken Enchiladas a la Nadine

From Cook's Illustrated, May 2003

If you prefer, Monterey Jack can be used instead of cheddar, or, use a mixture of the two. This recipe produces enchilades that are similar to Nadine's. They are easy to make and delicious.

Sauce and Filling
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 cans tomato sauce (8 ounces each)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (4 ounces) pickled jalapeƱos , drained and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , grated (2 cups)--reserve about 1/2 cup for the topping

Tortillas and Toppings
10 corn tortillas (six-inch)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado , diced medium
5 leaves romaine lettuce washed, dried, and shredded
2 limes , quartered

1. FOR THE SAUCE AND FILLING: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with spices, about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water; stir to separate chicken pieces. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and flavors have melded, about 8 minutes. Pour mixture through medium-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on chicken and onions to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside. Transfer chicken mixture to large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos, and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.

2. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees.

3. Place the tortillas on two jelly roll pans (5 on each pan); spray both sides of each tortilla with Pam and place in oven for about 4 mins. until soft and pilable.

4. Raise the oven to 400 degrees. Place 3/4 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 13 inch x 9 inch baking dish. Fill each of the enchilades with about 1/3 cup of the filling, roll and place in baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake enchiladas on lower-middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, passing sour cream, avocado, lettuce, and lime wedges separately.

Makes 10 enchiladas, serving 4 or 5

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