Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Year Later: Green Enchiladas

I've been making these green enchiladas for years.  I wrote a post about them about a year ago. They were one of the first dishes I started making regularly while learning how to cook, and the first from-scratch enchiladas I ever made. Back in the day, I used canned enchilada sauce and I thought I was a cooking wizard because I could bake enchiladas in the oven that came out still resembling their ingredients instead of gooey charcoal.  Bonus points for being tasty! I think that in the past year, I've perfected them and wanted to post my updated recipe. 

These green enchiladas aren't terribly pretty, but they are awesome. They're creamy, cheesy, tangy, and if you add chili powder, just a little bit spicy.  I've changed the recipe a bit over the years. The original recipe is from Cooking Light, but I don't think these are very healthy.  But that's probably because I changed the recipe to include a ton of cheddar cheese, because I have to choose between healthy and cheddar cheese, the cheese will always win. If you use Herdez or Goya brand salsa verde, the sauce is mild and safe for the spicy-adverse. But I add extra chili powder.  I also season the chicken with some adobo seasoning and add some extra garnishes.  I make the full batch of sauce and then slightly less filling and tortillas to serve 2 people (3 enchiladas each).  The "proper" portion for this is two enchiladas per person.  If you decide to scale this up to serve more people, increase the amount of sauce!  The enchiladas should be completely covered with sauce when you bake them. I also omit the step of cooking the tortillas in chicken broth.  I've tried this a few times and it did nothing for me.  It seemed unnecessary and increased my enchilada assembling time.  If you want to make your tortillas more pliable, steam them.

Green Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 2


1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, firmly packed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and the bottom part cut off
1 7 oz bottle of salsa verde (I use Herdez or Goya)

1 fairly large chicken breast (It should yield about 1.5 cups of meat when cooked and shredded).
3 oz 1/3 less fat (neufchatel) cream cheese
6 6-inch corn tortillas

as much cheddar cheese as you want!!  I use 2 year aged cheddar.
adobo seasoning to taste
1 Tbsp ancho chili powder (regular is okay too)
4-6 scallions, sliced (optional garnish)
1 red fresno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (optional garnish)
A few Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro leaves (optional garnish, I didn't use it for the enchiladas in the picture)
lime wedges
cooking spray
toothpicks (mandatory)

1) Preheat oven to 425 F.  Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until even. 
2) Cut the chicken into thin strips.  Season on both sides with adobo seasoning to taste and then cook in a non stick skillet over medium heat. 
3) Shred the chicken and place it in a bowl with the cream cheese and 1/3 cup of the sauce mixture and mix well. 
4) Coat a pyrex or other baking dish with some cooking spray.  Grab a plate or cutting board to assemble the enchiladas.  Place some chicken filling into the center of a tortilla and roll it up. Place it seam side down in the baking dish and secure with two toothpicks.  Repeat with remaining 5 enchiladas.
5) Carefully pour some of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, making sure they stay close together in the dish.  Top the salsa with grated cheddar cheese, then add another coat of the sauce. Add more cheese if you want, and then sprinkle with the chili powder. Top with green onions and fresno peppers, if using.  If using cilantro for garnish, wait until they're cooked to add them. 
6) Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is your desired level of melted.
7) Serve the enchiladas with lime wedges and cilantro, if using.  Don't forget to take out the toothpicks!

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