Somewhere along the way these became known amongst my circle of friends as “Meredith’s enchilada’s”, but I do want to clear up that misconception. These are really Meredith’s take on Cherryll Walzel-Frick’s enchiladas. She was on a Food Network special about 10 years ago and I quickly embraced the meal. I have made some minor changes, but I have stayed pretty close to her original recipe. They do require a little bit of work (in “tips and tricks” I will give you the 30 minute dinner version), but if you have a little time they are well worth it.
3/4 pound Tomatillos
1/3 cup Onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
1/2 cup Water
1 small Jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Lime Juice
1/2 cup tightly packed Cilantro
2 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 pound Chicken Breast
2 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Cumin Seed
1 tablespoon Coriander Seed
8 Flour Tortillas
1 cup Vegetable Oil
6 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
To begin, clean your tomatillos by removing the papery skins. Put your tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, garlic, and water into a sauce pan. Cover with a lid and place over medium heat. Cook for about 30 minutes or until they are soft.
In the meantime, season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Put your chicken stock, cumin seed, coriander, onion and garlic in a saute pan that has a lid. Add your seasoned chicken and place the pan over medium heat. When the liquid has come to a simmer reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Allow it to cook for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. When the chicken is done, pull it out and allow the chicken to cool for a few minutes. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces using either a fork or your hands (frankly using your hands is easier).
To prepare the flour tortillas you will need to heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Have 10 pieces of paper towel ready to drain the tortillas. When the oil begins to shimmer it is ready. Place a tortilla in the oil for 10 seconds, flip it over and fry it on the other side for an additional 10 second. Place on a folded paper towel and repeat with the other 7 tortillas.
When the tomatillos are soft, remove all of the vegetables from the liquid and place them in a blender. Add in about half of the cooking liquid, the cilantro, and the salt. Blend until it is smooth. If you think it is too thick add more of the cooking liquid until you are happy with the consistency.
At this point you are ready to put your enchiladas together. Place about 1/4 cup of the tomatillo salsa evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. For each tortilla place 1 tablespoon of the salsa verde on down the middle, top the salsa with about 2 ounces of shredded chicken and a sprinkling of cheese. Roll the tortilla up as tightly as you can and place seem-side down in the baking pan. Line all the enchiladas up in the pan, cover with another 1/4 cup of salsa and the remaining cheese (you should still have about 1/2 cup of salsa left over). Place the pan in the oven for 15 minute to heat through, then turn the broiler on high and allow the cheese on top to toast for a couple of minutes (keep your eye on them!).
Pull the enchiladas out and serve with the left over tomatillo salsa and sour cream to garnish.
Tips and Tricks:
So you don’t happen to have an hour to spend preparing dinner? No worries, this recipe can be simplified in 3 easy steps. One: buy a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store and shred the meat to use for your filling. Two: buy prepared salsa verde (found in the international aisle). Three: microwave the tortillas covered with a damp paper towel for 60 seconds to make them pliable. You have dinner that can now be on the table in about 30 minutes. Use any or all of these short-cuts to make this an easy week-night dinner.