Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Another from Bluebonnets and Brownies...

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
serves four

Chicken Filling
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp double concentrate tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder or hill country chili powder
1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken and tomato OR plain chicken stock

Add tomato paste, spices, and stock to a large sauce pan, and whisk to evenly distribute. Add chicken thighs directly to stock, and allow to cook on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour, until chicken is fork tender and easily pulled apart by two forks. Stock should reduce down until there is almost none left. Pull all of the chicken so you are left with shredded chicken sitting in a little broth.

Chili Gravy
adapted from Robb Walsh’s Tex-Mex Cookbook
1/4 c. canola or grapeseed oil, or lard (yes, I cook with lard. Are you aware it has no trans fats, and LESS fat than butter and most oils?)
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp powdered garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2 tbsp ancho or hill country chili powder
2 cups chicken and tomato or plain chicken broth

Heat oil or lard in a large frying pan. When hot, whisk in flour until you’ve got a paste-like consistency, otherwise known as a roux. Add the rest of the spices and whisk again until fully incorporated. Add chicken stock to the pan and whisk continually until gravy begins to thicken. Turn heat to low, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. If gravy thickens too much (should be the consistency of beef or chicken gravy that you would put on a roast dinner), add more chicken stock 1/4 c. at a time to thin to your desired consistency.

For enchiladas

8-10 corn tortillas
1 chopped onion
Shredded chicken thighs as prepared above
2-3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
chili gravy

In a medium frying pan, saute approximately 1 chopped onion if so desired, until translucent and slightly brown. Remove to a bowl and save for enchilada assembly.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a plate with paper towel. When frying pan is cleared of onions, add approximately 3 tbsp. of oil to it. Allow to heat completely. Place the tip of a wooden spoon into the oil. When bubbles form and race away from the spoon, the oil is hot enough. One at a time, shallow fry corn tortillas, flipping after 30 seconds, until both sides are slightly browned, but not dark. Remove tortilla to paper towel lined plate, and continue on until all tortillas are fried.

Now you are ready to begin assembly. Place 2-3 tortillas on an oven safe plate, with enough room to fill each. Add 2 tbsp. of the shredded chicken mixture, a spoonful of cooked onions, and as much shredded cheddar cheese as you desire. Roll the tortilla and place back on the plate with the seam-side down. Continue with the other tortillas on the plate, until you have 2 or 3 enchiladas lined up in a row.

Cover the enchiladas with a ladle-full of chili gravy, and more cheddar cheese and onions as desired. Add refried beans and Mexican rice to the plate if desired. Place the plate in the oven to melt the cheese.

Continue assembly of all other plates required, adding them to the oven as each is finished. Remove the first plate as the cheese is fully melted and begins to bubble. Make sure to remove from the oven with an oven safe mitt, and serve on a place mat. The plate will be hot, as it would be in a Mexican restaurant.

Devour with copious amounts of Tecate beer, guacamole salad, and tortilla chips, as any good Texan would do.

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