When frequenting many a Mexican restaurant as a youth growing up in Southern California, it was a given that my Dad would peruse their offerings, lock on their rendition of Enchilada and promptly close the menu. It was like the sun rising from the east, it was a given. Was it boring on his part not to venture out and try new things? Yes. Could I argue with his seemingly pedestrian decision though? No. How could I when Enchiladas have ensconced themselves as one of Mexican cuisine’s pillars along the likes of the taco, burrito and quesadilla?
Enchiladas have been well established as a Firehouse staple routinely getting a night dedicated all to themselves. Inexpensive, non-arduous and satisfying with all it’s loaded cheese and spicy sauces; this former Mexican street food has won the hearts and minds of everyone. But experiencing them through the years at many a firehouse, I’ve found that often they are made with canned sauces, overcooked chicken breast and little to no spice.
So in this incarnation of the Firehouse Enchilada, I have decided to make Enchiladas Verdes. I choose this version as I have already covered how to make a version of tomatillo sauce (Verde/Green sauce) Salsa (and included another version down below), it is one of the recognized authentic Mexican versions (I mean, they even have a Swiss adaptation now, Enchiladas Suizas) and I avoid frying the tortillas. Not to worry though, there is plenty of flavor from the cheddar and cream cheese, sour cream, chipotles, etc…
A few notes, I purchased a Costco rotisserie chicken to save time and stripped it of all its meat for inclusion into this recipe. I love the combination of both light and dark meat, all the advantages it offers and it is the perfect amount of chicken. Also, I decided to use flour tortillas here if only due to the fact that larger sized corn tortillas (over 8”) are difficult to find at most grocery stores but would be preferred if available (or just make your own Chips and Tortillas). Lastly, I went with ½ Cup of the enchilada mixture to fill the tortillas. That is designed for large hungry men and women. Reduce by half for most (especially children who will love these). Indulge!
Let me take you to the rich, luscious world of the Enchilada. Topped with many a sauce, filled with many an ingredient, this Mexican tradition has found a home in many a firehouse and now your's. In this episode we discuss the color Verde, freezing block cheese and that female firefighters are hungry too.
Formats available: MPEG-4 Video (.m4v)
Chicken (2 Cups of pre-cooked equal parts light and dark meat chopped or shredded)
Cheddar Cheese (1 Cup grated)
Light Cream Cheese (8 ounce package at room temperature)
Sour Cream (16 ounce container)
Red Onion (1 Medium diced)
Green Onion (4-5 thinly sliced)
Garlic (2 Cloves minced)
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce (3-4+ Tbs.)
Ground Cumin (1-2 Tbs.)
Flour Tortillas (10 8”-Diameter)
Cilantro (1 Bunch chopped)
Pepper and Salt to taste
Fresh Tomatillo (Verde) Sauce
Tomatillos (8-10 small sized ones, rinsed)
Onion (Yellow or White cut into 8ths)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Cilantro (½ a Bunch chopped)
Lime (1 Juiced)
Vegetable Oil (2 Tbs.)
Pepper and Salt
9’ x 13’ x 2’ Baking Dish
*Baking dish of a smaller scale (7” x 7” is what we had) *for those that didn’t fit.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F°. In a large bowl, add 1 cup (8 ounces) of the sour cream and the Chipotles with Adobo sauce and whisk to combine. Add the red onion, garlic, chicken, cumin, cilantro (½ if the bunch), cheddar cheese (½ Cup) and pepper and salt to taste. Mix to combine and reserve for later.
Meanwhile, place a small layer of the tomatillo sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay out one of the tortillas on a flat surface, divide the cream cheese by 1/10th and using a spoon, smear it liberally across the tortilla to create a equal layer. Then add roughly ½ cup of the enchilada mixture onto the tortilla and carefully roll the tortilla and place seam side down into the prepared baking dish. Repeat until the baking dish is full (about 7 at ½ a cup, more with the reduced portions). Repeat the same procedure with the remaining ingredients and place in the other prepared baking dish. Spoon the tomatillo sauce over to lather all of the exposed tortilla (in between them as well) and reserve the rest for later tableside serving. Cover both baking dishes with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven discard the foil, sprinkle the tops of the enchiladas with the remaining cheddar cheese and heat for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese had melted. Allow the dinners to plate with any additional tomatillo sauce, sour cream, *pickled radishes, *sliced avocado and cilantro (*Optional but recommended).
Fresh Tomatillo (Verde) Sauce
Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Place the tomatillos, jalapeno and onion on the baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes (rotate pan at the 15 minute mark). Remove and allow it to cool. Place the tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic and lime juice into the blender and blend to combine. With the blender running, slowly add the vegetable oil, pepper and salt. Carefully and slowly add water if too thick for your liking. Reserve.