I’ve never liked chicken enchiladas very much in Tex-Mex restaurants.
The filling is mushy, the sauce is bland, and they can be a bit on the soggy side. So, when I was thinking of recipes I could make for dinner a few nights back I wondered if I could make a chicken enchilada that I actually enjoyed. I like a challenge so I set to work.
The first change I made was to the chicken itself. Most recipes call for shredded chicken, but I felt that added to the ‘mush’ factor, so I opted to dice mine into very small pieces. Second, I used roasted chicken breast for the filling, not dark meat. Third, I added a smoky kick to the sour cream sauce by added some minced chipotle pepper. This little addition made the sauce wonderfully flavorful. I have served these twice now at home, and gave them as a gift to friends. The general consensus is these are the best chicken enchiladas ever.
Chicken Enchiladas with Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce Serves 4-6
For the enchiladas:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Ro*Tel tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded jack cheese, divided
12 corn tortillas
For the sauce:
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 160 F in the thickest part. Cool, tented with foil, for twenty minutes before finely dicing the chicken.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once it shimmers add the onion and jalapeno. Cook until they begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the spices and cook for one minute more, or until the spices become very fragrant.
Add the Ro*Tel and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute. Add the diced chicken and turn to coat then turn off the heat and add one cup of shredded cheese. Set aside to cool slightly.
Wrap the toritllas in a damp towel and heat in the microwave for thirty seconds, flipping half way through. Heat until the tortillas are warm and slightly steamy.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Fill each tortilla with the chicken filling and roll into a tube. Place seam side down into the prepared dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish and bake for thirty minutes, then remove the foil and bake for ten additional minutes.
While the enchiladas bake prepare the sauce.
In a medium pan over medium heat melt the butter. When it begins to foam add the onion and chipotle pepper. Cook until the onion is very tender, about six minutes. Add the garlic and cook for thirty seconds.
Add the flour and cook for one minute before adding the chicken broth. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream. Whisk until completely blended. Cook over low heat until the sauce is warm, but do not allow the sauce to simmer or it might break.
Serve the enchiladas with as much sauce as desired.