Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas

I recently returned from a weekend trip to Albuquerque where I enjoyed amazing New Mexican cuisine. As anyone who has been there knows, chile sauce is king. You have the choice of green or red sauce, or you can be like me and order both. After returning home I knew I had to try my hand homemade chili sauce, so I made these delicious chicken enchiladas with red chile sauce. The sauce is packed with complex flavor, and the enchiladas soaked it up into every morsel. While I made the enchiladas with the more traditional corn tortillas, flour tortillas would also be delicious and would hold their shape even better. Stay tuned for a future blog post on green chili sauce and the verdict for the ultimate winner!

Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas
A traditional dish bursting with Southwestern flavors.
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion ,chopped fine
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 or breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 cans tomato sauce (8 ounces each)
1/2cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeƱos, minced
11 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 3/4 cups)
10 corn tortillas (six-inch)
Vegetable cooking spray

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 3/4 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 2 cups of the cheese in medium bowl and set aside.

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

Spread a couple spoonfuls of sauce onto the bottom of your baking dish. Spray each side of tortilla with cooking spray and bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until soft, warm and pliable. Spoon 1/3 cup of filling into each tortilla. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas and top with remaining 3/4 cup 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 with sour cream, avocado, lettuce, and lime wedges.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

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