Anyone who knows me well knows that I could eat Mexican food for every meal. This preference stems all the way back to a childhood of begging to go to Taco Bell or to make tacos at home as often as possible. As I’ve gotten older, my Mexican palette has expanded from crunchy tacos with meat and sour cream ONLY to guacamole, enchiladas, Mole and fish tacos. I can make a mean taco, but I decided it was time for me to tackle homemade enchiladas.
I’ve looked at lots of recipes and watched various celebrity chefs make them on TV. I’ve taken note of the components of enchiladas at my favorite Mexican spots and I concluded the following as I developed my recipe:
1) The enchiladas must be chicken enchiladas.
2) The chicken must be shredded so as to absorb the delicious sauce and flavor.
3) The tortillas must be corn tortillas. This is critical not just for taste, but also for texture.
4) No cumin allowed. I don’t know why, but I just don’t care for this flavor.
5) Spicy is better, just not so spicy that you can’t feel your mouth.
6) Cream cheese is an excellent addition to the sauce inside and on top of the enchiladas. It adds a touch of richness, balances the heat of the hot peppers, and it’s a little bit tangy. Nobody wants an enchilada lacking in flavor and cream cheese won’t let you down.
7) The tortillas must be soft in order to roll them. I prefer not to dunk them in a bunch of hot oil (the best way to keep them from splitting and to hold their shape) so I microwave them between a few damp paper towels. Not so authentic, but it means I can eat enchiladas more often, which is the ultimate goal here.
Now that we’ve covered those details, I’m hungry. Let’s make some chicken enchiladas.
These ingredients will soon be combined in nothing short of deliciousness. Don’t forget the tomato paste like I did in this picture. It’s a critical player.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub a boneless, skinless chicken breast with olive oil.
Sprinkle both sides with chili powder, paprika, season salt, and garlic salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
After it’s done, allow the chicken to cool for a few minutes.
Then, using your best tools (your clean hands) shred the chicken.
Chop up onion, garlic and jalapeno, seeds and all. Please try not to touch your face until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands or you will be very sorry. I speak from experience.
Sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent.
Then throw in the garlic and half of the jalapeno, allowing them to soften for about 30 seconds.
Sprinkle in the rest of the chili powder, paprika and season salt.
Drop in half of the cream cheese.
Pour in half of the chicken broth.
Plop in the tomato paste.
Stir all of that deliciousness together until combined.
Throw in the shredded chicken.
Let everything hang out together until the sauce has reduced a bit. It should be thick and absorbed into the chicken. It shouldn’t be too loose or assembling the enchiladas will be a disaster.
Once reduced, remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Then be lazy like me and throw the rest of the cream cheese into the same skillet. This will actually catch some of that good flavor left in the skillet. Laziness or genius? Most likely both.
Add in the remaining chicken broth and jalapenos.
Mix everything together and reduce until slightly thickened.
Microwave the stack of tortillas in damp paper towels for a minute or so on low power to soften them.
Then start assembling by placing 1/8 of the chicken mixture in each tortilla, rolling them up and placing them in the baking dish as you go.
I didn’t do the best job preventing these from tearing slightly. Oh well. Nothing a little bit of sauce and cheese can’t cover up.
Then cover the top of the enchiladas with the cream cheese sauce.
And then top ‘er off with the shredded cheese and bake the enchiladas for 15-20 minutes on 300 until the cheese melts.
Here is the final product. Enjoy!
Y’all come back and visit,
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp season salt
- ¼ tsp garlic salt
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cup chicken broth
- Approximately 2/3 package of cream cheese
- 8 small corn tortillas
- ½ cup shredded cheese
1) Cover chicken breast in 1 tbsp olive oil and then season with 1 tsp chili powder, ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp season salt and ¼ tsp garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool and then shred chicken.
2) Sauté onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil until translucent over medium heat. Add in garlic and ½ of the jalapeno, cooking for approximately 30 seconds before adding remaining chili powder, paprika, and season salt. Add in 1/2 of chicken broth, the tomato paste, and 1/2 of cream cheese. Mix together until combined.
3) Add shredded chicken to mixture and allow to reduce until most liquid is absorbed. Set aside in a separate bowl
4) Using the same skillet, add remaining cream cheese, chicken broth and jalapeno pepper, whisking together until incorporated. Let thicken.
5) Wrap stacked tortillas in damp paper towels and heat in microwave until soft.
6) Assemble tortillas, placing them in a baking dish. Once all tortillas are assembled, cover them with cream cheese sauce and shredded cheese.
7) Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.