Sunday, March 13, 2011

Green Enchiladas

Aside from ground beef tacos, these green enchiladas were the first Mexican dish I tried to make.  I've been making them since 2006.  My first ones tasted great, but it's always been hard to get them on the plate looking nice.  Usually, they look like they were thrown onto the plate at an extreme velocity.  These were carefully plated by Dave; he's a master with a spatula.  The green salsa is made in the blender from canned salsa verde, cilantro, onion, and garlic.  Instead of using full-fat cream cheese, the recipe called for 1/3 less fat Neufch√Ętel cheese. These are (relatively) healthy and quite tasty!  Since the sauce doesn't require cooking, it's faster than the other enchiladas I make.  If you have leftover cooked chicken, or a rotisserie chicken sitting around, these would be even faster. 

I originally found this recipe on Cooking Light's website.  It's here now.  I think mine look a little better. :) I like my sauce to look more green, so I use extra cilantro for effect. I'm lucky because my grocery store sells salsa verde in convenient 7 oz cans so I don't have to store any in the fridge.  If I want extra volume, I use a heaping cup of onion to make more sauce.

Corn tortillas continue to be a thorn in my side.  The only time I manage to have them not crumble on me is when I use them within 2 days of buying them.  Maybe it's not humid enough in my fridge.  All I know is, after a few days, I can't get them to stay in one piece.  I've tried the warming drawer.  I've tried covering them w/ a moist paper towel and nuking them.  I've tried dipping them in warm chicken or veggie broth.  The only thing that seemed to work was the one time I heated them in a pan. But, I did that to tortillas I had bought earlier that day, so I don't know if it was their freshness or the heat.  I'd appreciate suggestions on how to keep them soft!  I'm way too lazy to try and make my own, especially on a work night!

Anyway, these are great for a 'healthier' version of cheesy enchiladas.  The cheese still isn't the healthiest thing in the world, but the salsa is harmless.  :) I like squeezing some lime over them, it goes well with the tomatillos. I also use a blend of medium hot and ancho chili powder.  The original recipe doesn't call for it, but I top my enchiladas with sliced green onions.

It's not pictured, but I use toothpicks to make the enchiladas hold their shape while I bake them in the oven.  I use two per enchilada and then carefully remove them once they're done in the oven.  The recipe doesn't call for this, but I think it's important. 

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
Adapted from a recipe originally from Cooking Light.  Here now.
Serves 4


1  cup  chopped onion
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro (I used closer to 1/2 cup)
2  garlic cloves, minced
1  (7-ounce) bottle salsa verde 
2  cups  shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3  cup  (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco (this is expensive and I don't use it much, so I just used some grana padano over the top).
Ancho and medium hot chili powder
4  lime wedges
4 green onions, sliced.

1) Preheat oven to 425. 
2) Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
3) Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup salsa mixture. Reserve remaining salsa mixture.
4) Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place tortilla, seam-side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas.
5) Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle with as much chili powder as you want.
6) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
7) Serve with lime wedges and green onions.

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