Not the Whole Enchilada

My dad and I have taken to trading off on dinner duty.  Today, he was running around town finishing his errands (one of which included a much-needed trip to the grocery store), so I ransacked the refrigerator and tried to figure out what I could make with what was left inside.

I’d been craving some Tex-Mexicana but I didn’t want to go through the time-consuming (but worth it) effort of making our very popular chicken enchiladas, so I kind of improvised.

First I set two chicken breasts to poach in half chicken broth, half water, so they were covered about an inch with liquid.

The trick with poaching is to bring the water to a boil and then very quickly turn it to low, so you only get the slightest little bubble.

I left them like that for about 45 minutes or so, then drained them and shredded them with a fork.

I set that aside and turned my mind to other things. 

Like grating up some cheddar cheese.  I like lots of cheese.I diced up a large onion and chucked in in a large pan with two teaspoons garlic-in-a-jar and the same in olive oil.

I also diced up a sweet yellow pepper and three small tomatoes fresh from the garden (ah, Ontario produce, how I have missed you!).

I sautéed the onions with the garlic until they were softened.

Chucked in the other vegetables.  How’s that for lovely colour?

Then I added a teaspoon ground cumin and two teaspoons chili powder.  You can of course adjust this to suit your own preferences.

I then added some of the tasty hot sauce leftover from my brother’s wedding.

Then a can (680mL, a little more than two and a half cups) of tomato sauce (puréed tomatoes would also work here).

Let that simmer and thicken on medium heat for about twenty minutes.  Or as long as it takes you to cook your rice.  My rice takes about twenty minutes, if I cook it according to my husband’s very exacting standards.

Add your shredded chicken to your tomato sauce mixture and stir it around until the chicken is thoroughly coated and nice and warm.

Serve over your rice with grated cheddar cheese.

We even had some leftover, so I would say this recipe serves 4 or even 5 (Dad had seconds).  Not bad for a we-have-nothing-in-the-fridge kind of meal.

Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of the Pie’s favourite things to make, and one of my favourite things to eat. Being the Pie, he got the recipe from the internet.  Being us, we’ve modified it a little.

It’s definitely a team effort to make, though.  There’s a lot of timing involved, especially if you’re waiting on other dishes.

First, you need to poach some chicken.  You can do this way ahead of time if you like — which I do.

Plop your chicken (you’ll need enough for about 3-4 cups cooked and chopped) in a saucepan with about half water, half chicken stock, and enough liquid to cover the chicken completely. Bring it to a point where it’s just barely bubbling and leave it like that for a while, until the chicken is cooked through.

Drain your chicken and leave it to cool.

Pull the chicken apart with two forks or your fingers so it looks all shredded.  Set it aside for a spell.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Grate 2 cups cheddar cheese.  We made the mistake of using low-fat cheese, which of course doesn’t melt that well.  Always go full fat when it comes to your dairy.

Mince up a large onion.

Coat a large skillet with oil and fry up the onion until it’s translucent, a few minutes.

Add about two tablespoons minced garlic and cook it for another minute or so.

Pour in a 24oz can of crushed or puréed tomatoes.  Then start adding chili powder to taste, probably about two tablespoons.

Let it simmer, but don’t let it get too thick.  Remove from the heat after a few minutes.

Now, mix about 1/4 of your sauce with the cooked chicken, as well as 1/4 of the cheese. 

Stir it up good and set it aside.

Now using the skillet you cooked your sauce in (now empty, but not cleaned), add a bit of oil and heat it up.

Spread a bit of the sauce in a plate and use it to coat both sides of 12 tortillas with sauce. 

Fry them up in the skillet by plopping them in.  Wait until air bubbles start coming up and flip it.  Repeat. 

Plop it on a plate and line the centre with some of your chicken mixture. 

Roll them up and line a pyrex baking dish with them.  You might find it helpful to spread the bottom of the dish with some sauce first, just to keep things from sticking.

Pour the remaining sauce on top of the rolled enchiladas.

Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Bake for about ten minutes, until the cheese is all melty.  It’s handy to use a metal spatula to serve it.

We had ours with Mexican rice and Caesar salad.  YUM.