Friday, January 04, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas - Hold the Greez

I love enchiladas. But I'd never order them at a standard Mexican restaurant because they're covered in grease and fat. One restaurant I went to apparently cooks all of their food in lard. Awesome. Not really. Let's make YUM enchiladas the healthy way that doesn't make your body feel like two pigs fighting under a blanket. (5 points if you know the movie).

What you need:

  1. Chicken breasts
  2. Corn tortillas (I'm going to show you how to make your own)
  3. 1 large can of diced tomatoes and a large white onion
  4. 2 ears of corn
  5. Achiote paste and salsa ranchera (nice to haves)
  6. Fromage du jour (that means cheese)
  7. Salt and pepper of course.

Short list right? So essentially you want to stuff corn tortillas with shredded chicken and a sauce. Really basic.

Let's get started:

  • Boil your chicken breasts until they're cooked. Once cooked, shred them by holding a piece down with a fork and pulling away with the other fork.
  • Start your sauce! -- chop an onion and throw it into a hot pot with a little butter, olive oil, or cooking spray. Just enough to keep the onions from burning.
  • Once the onion is cooked up pretty well, throw in your corn kernels cut from the cobs

  • Add the large can of diced tomatoes. Mix everything together and let it cook until it looks blended and evenly cooked pretty well.
  • Then add a good chunk of your achiote paste. It disolves better in cold water than hot water so maybe disolve it first in a little chicken stock before adding it.

  • Add the salsa ranchera or either a chipotle or a little adobe sauce from the can. It's really spicy so taste it first before you put it into your food. The salsa ranchera is pretty mild but will add great flavor.

  • Once the paste has had time to cook in with everything - taste what you have. You'll need to add about a tablespoon of salt.
  • When you're satisfied with the flavor, add a good amount of chicken stock to make it soupy so that when you blend it, it isn't too thick and it isn't too watery. You want it to be the consistency of a marinara.
  • When the sauce is done - unless you want it chunky, use a hand blender to puree it to a smooth consistency
  • Add the shredded chicken, mix well, cover, and let it all hang out on a low heat for 20-30 minutes. This will remoisturize your chicken and fill it with flavor.

Ok - now! While you have 20-30 minutes to spare, make fresh tortillas! It's SO easy IF you have a tortilla press ($14) and a bag of instant masa ($2). Just do the following:

  • Add 1 cup of masa flour, 2/3 cups of water, and 1/4 tsp. of salt into a bowl. Mix it.
  • Now you have this nice soft ball of dough.
  • Take your tortilla press, put the golf-sized ball between two pieces of plastic (I cut up a grocery bag) and press.

  • Get out your pancake griddle or any flat teflon surface you have, and cook each tortilla for about 30 seconds on each side. Done. You should still have time leftover to do dishes.

Now that your chicken is finished and your tortillas are made, you are almost finished. Just put some meat in a tortilla, roll it and place it roll-part down in baking glassware (or whatever). Push them all close together, however many you can fit, cover with cheese, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

I plate mine with cilantro and either sour cream or crema mexicana which kind of tastes like heavy whipping cream but it looks so authentic, doesn't it? So it is a bit on the labor intensive side but it could be a LOT more difficult and far less healthy. Enjoy!

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