Chicken Enchiladas has always been on Kevin's "top 10 favorite meals of all time" list. I've tried this Mexican dish only one other time and it was tasty--but quite a bit of work and I wasn't perfectly pleased with the results. When I saw Annie post an all new chicken enchilada recipe and I had all of the ingredients on hand, I knew this was a must for this week's menu. Kevin was, of course, excited. However, I don't think either of us anticipated how delicious these would be. It was a little bit of work, but nothing too challenging--just a few extra dishes to wash. Which is why I went ahead and made the entire recipe, though it could easily feed four adults. The other half of the enchiladas are in the freezer--hopefully they'll be perfect for a last minute reheated meal.
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1 tsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. sugar
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Combine the onion, jalapeno and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook just until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through (160˚ F on an instant-read thermometer), about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the onions and tomatoes to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the reserved solids to a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the onion/tomato/pepper mixture. Add in ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of each of the shredded cheeses, and the cilantro. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Oil a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds, until warm and pliable. Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.
Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce oven the top. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Garnish with cilantro, green onions, sour cream, etc.