Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

Sorry, for the delay friends... not that anyone is reading my blog.  It’s been a few hectic weeks since my last posting. Work has required much of my attention, and frankly, I haven’t been able to muster the energy to cook. I know, I’m bad, but I am sure that anyone out there who has a demanding job, family, or community commitments has indeed experienced the same absence of vigor.
I did find the time and energy to recreate a dish that I’ve been craving for a while. I am a big fan of Chicken Enchiladas; there is a wonderful restaurant here in Sarasota (Mi Pueblo) that makes the best interpretation of this ethereal entree. If you want to go, Tuesday nights are a great night to do it; they have a roaming Mariachi band that strolls from table to table performing for the guests. The music combined with the Mexican fare is a recipe for an entertaining evening.  I haven’t had the time or opportunity to go recently, so I decided to make the Chicken Enchiladas myself. I’ve roamed the internet trying to find a recipe that was close to Mi Pueblo’s. It took a while, but I finally found one that seemed close. (Recipe below)

I was so excited that I had at long last found a recipe that I thought was similar. It was close, but no cigar (or living in Southern Florida, no Cuban).  Okay, maybe part of the problem was – that it wasn’t Mi Pueblo. Actually dining at the restaurant adds to the culinary experience. The music, the décor, the authentic service, experienced professionals in the kitchen; all those components together complete the dining experience.

So on to my night making Chicken Enchiladas. Let me start by saying that shredding chicken is a slow and boring process. Started using a fork, but that didn’t last long. My fingers were the best tool possible. I strongly suggest making the chicken ahead of time – shredding hot chicken can be painful. I’m not a professional; I still have sensations in my fingers. 

Once the shredding was completed, I started on my “Mise en Place” as the professionals say (everything ready and in its place). I chopped my onions, measured out the cheese – sour cream – butter, flour and chicken broth. I bought a small can of chopped green chiles, but I thought the pieces were a bit big, so gave them a run through with my knife.   I mixed up the chicken, onions and cheese, set them aside and began working on the sauce. The whole process once the preparations were completed was fairly simple.  Oh, I forgot to mention the corn tortillas – I opted for the oven method versus the frying method and it worked okay. One thing I will have to work on is my rolling technique; it is lacking just a smidge.   

After everything was ready to go, I poured the sauce over the cheese. I deviated from the actual recipe a little; I added more cheese to the sauce, because my Mexican restaurant’s sour cream sauce is in fact cheesy.  After some time in the oven, our dinner was ready to eat thank goodness, cause after all the work; my husband and I were hungry.  My accompanying dishes for dinner were traditional refried beans, with an avocado-iceberg salad. It was a nice change from the standard rice and beans.   

After all that work, the enchiladas were just okay. Definitely not Mi Pueblo’s - but not horrible.  As I was eating, I realized that there were no spices in the dish other than the chiles... and that made the dish lacking. Chatting with a co-worker Nicole, she said that when she makes hers, she adds cumin, coriander and chili pepper. I will make this again, but with some alterations such as the spices, that Nicole recommended.

Here’s the recipe... I suggest you play with the ingredients, or if you have your own suggestions, I look forward to trying them.


One boned chicken, skinned, and diced (I used three chicken breasts)
1 doz. corn tortillas
1/2 c. cooking oil
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. dairy sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

In large bowl, combine cheese, onion and chicken. Fry tortillas in large skillet, one at a time in hot oil for 15 seconds each side (spread newspaper or paper sack for draining tortillas as you cook them.) Spoon chicken mixture on all twelve tortillas, roll up and place seam side down in large baking pan.

In saucepan, melt butter, blend in flour, add chicken broth, and cook until mixture thickens and bubbles. Stir in sour cream and green chilies. Cook until heated through, but DO NOT BOIL. Pour sauce over tortillas and bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Bottom line, this recipe for Chicken Enchiladas was not “just that good”, but I have confidence the next time, with the proper experimentation it might be. Let’s be honest, not every recipe is an Oscar winner on the first run, but the more you try, the better your chances are for a winning dish. Practice makes perfect.

Until our visit... Happy cooking!

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