Enchiladas de Pollo y Queso
(Mexican chicken and cheese stuffed tortillas)
Enchiladas are an easy and filling Mexican dish of tortillas dipped in chile sauce and rolled around a wide variety of fillings: chicken, cheese, chorizo, beans, pork, beef, seafood or vegetables. This stuffed tortilla dish is a great way to use up leftover chicken, beef and pork. The main difference between enchiladas, aside from their filling, is the sauce used to top them.
There are three main types of enchiladas: rojos, tinted red with dried chiles, verdes with a green tomatillo sauce and suizas, topped with a cheesy, creamy sauce. This recipe is a simple version that comes together in a snap.
- Chicken breast, boneless, skinless -- 1 1/2 pounds
- Water -- 2 1/2 cups
- Oregano -- 2 teaspoons
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Queso fresco, Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, shredded -- 1 cup
- Parmesan cheese, grated -- 1/4 cup
- Onion, chopped -- 1/2
- Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2 cups
- Chopped green chilies (optional) -- 1/4 cup
- Corn tortillas -- 10
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Add the chicken, water, oregano and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken to a plate. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and cook it down until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Set it aside.
- When the chicken is cool enough, shred it with your fingers and add it to a bowl with half the shredded cheese, the Parmesan and chopped onion. Toss together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomatoes, chopped chiles and reserved poaching liquid to a large skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Using tongs, dip a tortilla in the simmering sauce, flipping it to cover both sides. Add a little water if the sauce is too thick. Set the tortilla on a plate and repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking them up on the plate.
- Put a little of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread it out. Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken-cheese mixture to the center of a tortilla and roll it up. Place the tortilla seam-side down in the baking dish and repeat with the remaining tortillas, filling up the baking dish.
- Pour remaining the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the enchiladas are heated through and bubbling. Top with your preferred garnish (see variations) and serve hot.
- Enchiladas Rojos: Works well with pork, chorizo or beef. Take 7 dried ancho chilies and toast them, one by one, over an open flame until they soften. Using gloved hands, remove the seeds and membranes. Soak the chiles in the poaching liquid for 15 to 20 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and puree in a blender. Simmer the sauce as directed, and proceed with the recipe. Or try using a mixture of guajillo and pasilla chiles instead of the anchos.
- Enchiladas Verdes: Good with chicken, pork and seafood. Substitute tomatillo-based salsa verde for the tomatoes .
- Enchiladas Suizas: Good with chicken or seafood. Substitute salsa verde for the tomatoes and and stir in 1/2 cup crema agria or sour cream. Top with a good melting cheese like mozzarella or Monterey Jack.
- Enchiladas de Mole: Make a simple mole sauce and use it instead of the tomato sauce.
- Garnishes: Some of the more popular garnishes for a dish of enchiladas include chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce, diced avocado, chopped jalapeños and a dollop of crema agria or sour cream.
- Many Mexican cooks briefly fry the tortillas in hot oil to soften them before dipping them in the sauce.