Besides preparing soups, when it’s a little chilly outside, I enjoy baking big pans of enchiladas to share with friends at the community lunch. My all-time favorite enchiladas are the ones made with chicken and salsa verde. My mom’s were filled with a simple poached shredded chicken, a quick salsa verde and a garnish of cheese. She rarely ever baked them covered in cheese like you see in most recipes. I still fix them this way for my husband, since I have not fully convinced him how tasty cheese can be, LOL! He would try it, if I asked nicely… The chicken filling was leftover from a batch of chicken tamales I had to make. For this chicken enchilada recipe I combined two dishes I love, chiles rellenos and enchiladas, the best of both worlds!
Yields 6 servings
For the Filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pickled jalapeños, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 2½ cups)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chile ancho powder or any mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
1½ cups chicken broth
2 to 3 tablespoons of the brine from pickled jalapeños
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, optional
4 cups chicken, cooked and shredded finely
*12 roasted and peeled Anaheim or New Mexico green peppers (I took a little help from the store and purchased them in a can, can’t always find fresh ones where I live!)
For the Salsa Verde:
2 pounds tomatillos
4 chile serrano, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Handful of chopped cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt, to taste
You Will Also Need:
12 corn tortillas
Olive oil for brushing corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese of choice (I used jack cheese)
Diced onions, optional
Sliced serrano peppers
*Sour cream or Mexican crema
My peppers, all lined up. Remember, you don’t want to over-stuff them!
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and pickled jalapeños and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. In the blender, add the tomatoes, cumin, oregano, chile ancho powder, pepper, pinch of salt, chicken broth and brine from jalapeños. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt.
2. Add the tomato mixture to the pan with onions. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add chicken, peas and carrots. Cook at a low simmer until most of the broth reduces, about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and set aside.
3. Peel and wash the tomatillos. Transfer them to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer them to blender. Add chile serrano, garlic, cilantro, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Add 1 cup of salsa verde to the bottom of a baking dish (9×13) and spread out evenly, set aside. Heat a large griddle pan to medium heat. Brush the corn tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Heat the tortillas for a minute per side or until you get some light golden spots. Stack the tortillas onto a plate as you heat them.
5. Fill each pepper with just enough chicken filling so it still closes, do not over-fill. Wrap one tortilla around each chile relleno as tight as you can and transfer them, seam-side down to the baking pan with salsa verde. Cover the enchiladas with just enough salsa verde to cover, add cheese and bake in preheated oven just until cheese melts. Garnish with any leftover salsa and any or all of the garnishes listed. Serve with your favorite rice.