Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

I didn't realize (until recently) just how regional even Tex Mex food is. Since I was raised mostly in North Texas, I've been dining on sour cream chicken enchiladas my whole life. I knew I liked them, but Jason absolutely LOVES them. It's typically the only thing he orders at a Tex Mex restaurant. Enchiladas are a fairly easy meal to make but I'd yet to find a "spot on" sour cream sauce recipe. Until I discovered Lisa Fain at The Homesick Texan.

Lisa, in a quest to replicate the North Texas standard enchilada recipe from her home in Manhattan, totally nailed it.

To make this as written does take awhile. Since I was craving some kitchen time, I quite enjoyed the multi steps but there are ways to cut down on time without sacrificing the taste. For one, use shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken instead of making your own will shave a lot of time off (even better if you have leftover chicken you can throw in!). This is also another recipe in which I was thankful for my immersion blender. I get more use out of that than my blender - so easy and quick! I also didn't easily find fresh tomatillos so I used canned - that also cuts down on time and effort!

After finishing the sauce, I took a taste and grinned. Jason came through the kitchen and I asked him to taste it. I got a "that's good" in return (which is a rare comment coming from him!). Judging by the silence in the house as we ate, I call this one a winner. Give it a try!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
For the filling:
Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium-sized onion, diced (I skipped - don't care for raw onions in my enchiladas)

For the sour cream sauce:
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Serrano chiles, diced
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of sour cream
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 fresh tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half or one 10 oz. can of tomatillos
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste

For the enchiladas
12 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the chicken breasts on each side with the salt and black pepper. In a large cast-iron set on medium heat, and cook the chicken breasts on each side for three minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, take the chicken out of the oven and let cool. Then shred with two forks. Keep the oven on as you’ll be using it again.

While the chicken is baking, in a pot melt the butter. Throw in the diced Serrano chiles and cook until soft, about three or four minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook for one more minute. Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and whisking constantly cook until chicken broth has thickened. Stir in the sour cream, cumin, cayenne and cilantro. Remove from heat.

If using fresh tomatillos, place them under the broiler on a foil-lined sheet and cook on each side until blackened, about four minutes per side. Place in a blender along with the sour cream sauce and puree into smooth. If using canned tomatillos, skip the broiler step and just place them in the blender with the sour cream sauce and proceed. (if you have an immersion blender, just add the tomatillos to your sour cream sauce and blend it that way)

Heat the canola oil in a skillet and cook the corn tortillas on each side a couple of minutes until soft. Wrap in a cloth to keep warm as you continue to cook all 12.

To assemble the enchiladas, pour one cup of the sour cream sauce in the bottom of a casserole pan. Take each corn tortilla and place in the middle about 1/3 cup of shredded chicken, 1 teaspoon of diced onions and 1 tablespoon of cheese.

Roll the tortillas around the filling and place the rolled tortillas seam side down in the casserole dish (I just reused my cast iron skillet to save dishes). Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.

Serve topped with chopped cilantro. Makes 12 enchiladas.

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