This is the whole enchilada. Well, not really. One could write a book with a recipe each day for a different enchilada. There are beef enchiladas and chicken enchiladas. Cheese enchiladas (my fave) and black bean enchiladas. New Mexican enchiladas, Tex-Mex enchiladas… I have a recipe for a shitake enchilada that I can’t wait to try. Cover them with red chile or green chile, mole or a suiza sauce and the list could go on forever. Just like Italian families have the family sauce recipe or the lasagne recipe, Mexican families have the enchilada recipe. And those are the Mexican families. It appears that enchiladas are different in Nicauragua and Guatemala and the Honduras. See what I mean? You could write a book on the variety of enchiladas and oh, now there’s an idea… Then I could travel to each place to check them out, don’t you know? You could all invite me in for your favorite enchilada meal. Wouldn’t that be fun, FUN?
So today’s recipe is New Mexican stacked enchiladas with red chile sauce. I love New Mexico and haven’t been there in so long. I miss you New Mexico; I really do. I love New Mexico in the fall when the air is crisp and it smells like roasting chilies. I love buying them fresh out of the roaster and slapping them into a homemade tortilla because there always seems to be a lady making fresh tortillas nearby. (And kind of way back when, that is how enchiladas got started. It appears one took whatever was available, like little fish, and wrapped a tortilla around them.) I love seeing the colorful ristras
and GOD, don’t even get me started on the art galleries.
Where was I? OK, I know I’m cheating here because I’ve already given you the red chile recipe. Now go read it and that covers sauce Tuesday. (Hey, it’s my blog and I can do what I want!) Becca and I made these and they were good, awesome, spectacular! Now the pictures may look good or not, so you will have to take my word for it, and as my father tends to say…all Mexican food looks alike so it doesn’t matter what you order. Well, it does matter, Dad. And enchiladas are one of my favorites in a Mexican restaurant, unless I am feeling skinny, which means I can order a fried chimichanga or relleno. Hmmmm. That hasn’t been in like centuries.
Enchilar means adding chile to… and this is what we did. The red sauce was almost mole like, but so much simpler. It is a rich red sauce because of the combination of chile powders used. That gives the sauce strength, notice I said strength, not spiciness. Red chile can go either way on the heat scale. Green chile often tends to be much hotter in my opinion. Now you could do your enchiladas Christmas style and serve them smothered with both red and green, but since green chilies haven’t yet arrived in the markets, we stuck with red.
Becca wanted chicken so I showed her my handy, dandy, simple as pie (who came up with that expression?) recipe. The smell coming out of the oven is intoxicating and if you aren’t careful you may eat all the chicken before it gets to the enchilada. The rabbit catcher loves this recipe and I make it countless ways seasoned in whatever flavor I feel like. (Think Italian, please.) This chicken or beef means he has lots to eat in the fridge. You can make it in big batches and freeze it in smaller portions, if you please. You can turn it into sloppy joe or add it to pasta or eat it on a sandwich. Add bbq sauce or make it into chicken salad. Throw some on a salad and you have a full meal. Put it in tacos, or on quesadillas. Come on, help me out here.
I think that’s about it. My mind must be in New Mexico because I keep losing my train of thought. Some things just do that to you, don’t they? Just as these enchiladas do. They are good for making memories. And memories sustain me many days, even though enchiladas taste like, WAY better! Than memories, that is! There is a saying in Mexico. “This is no enchilada”, meaning this (whatever it is-like my life!) is not so simple. Well, enchiladas are simple and that’s a good thing.
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New Mexican Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile
1 recipe of red chile sauce
Red Chile sauce should be kept warm. I made this with chicken broth to give it more flavor. If it gets too thick, add more broth. Enchilada sauce should be on the thin side. Ancho chile powder gives the sauce the rich chocolate taste. That’s a good thing, don’t you know?
Baked Mexican Chicken Breasts or Thighs
I used 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts. This gave me leftovers of chicken that made the rabbit catcher happy. Some people prefer dark meat and say they give more flavor. They also doesn’t dry out as fast. I’ll leave this choice up to you!
Garlic Powder, Salt, Cumin, Oregano, Chile Powder, Smoked Paprika
1 c pickled jalapenos and 1 c of pickling juice or fresh lime juice
Chicken broth or beer
Canned green chilies
I go easy on the cumin and paprika, but other than that…Lay your chicken in a 13×9 baking dish. Season well on both sides. The chicken should just be peeking through all those seasonings. Cover with some jalapenos and the green chilies. Pour jalapeno pickling juice and broth or beer around the chicken until it comes up about half the depth of the chicken. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. Let soak in liquid until cool enough to shred with your fingers. (No way around this, folks.) Shred chicken into the liquid. Let sit at least an hour until chicken has soaked up as much liquid as it can. Chicken can then be taken out and saved for enchiladas or other things. I keep it on the moist side, but not wet! If you have leftover liquid you can pour some of into your red chile to give it more flavor. Just don’t make it too thin.
I added a bit of grated cotija and finely chopped white onions to the shredded chicken and used that for my enchiladas. When I’m ready to make the enchiladas I heat this up in the microwave so that it’s hot. Use about 1/3 c of this shredded chicken per layer.
18 Corn Tortillas for 6 servings
Mexican Crema (This is so good and different than American sour cream but that is OK, too. I also found out that I can buy other Central American varieties of crema at my local Mexican carniceria!)
Cotija or Feta Cheese Grated
Finely Chopped White Onion
Heat your red chile on low in a skillet. Take one corn tortilla and slide it through the red chile (I use my fingers or you can use a spatula. Tongs tended to tear the tortilla.) Place on a baking sheet. Cover this with 1/3 c of warmed chicken mixture. Top with another soaked tortilla. Add another 1/3 c of chicken. Top with one more soaked tortilla. Sprinkle with cotija. Assemble 5 more just like this and place under preheated broiler until cheese melts.
While cheese is melting, take out 6 plates and put a good spoonful of chile on each plate. When tortillas are done, place one stack on each plate. Top with another good spoon of red chile, dollop with crema, and sprinkle with minced onion. Put on some music and drift away.