Although I love all sorts of enchiladas (as you can tell from the huge number I've posted on this blog!), I think the key to an authentic enchialada is frying the tortillas. Although it's an extra step and a little messy, it definitely takes them from Midwestern enchilada casserole to the real deal. The fried tortillas are wrapped around chicken and then baked until just a little crispy around the edges. Then they're smothered in delicious ranchero sauce and topped with lots of tasty toppings. Courtesy of my goody bag from V&V Supremo, I drizzled on lots of super creamy Mexican crema and then sprinkled on mild, delicious queso fresco. A flurry of cilantro finishes off the dish.
Mexican week: Stay tuned for chorizo huevos rancheros later this week, and check out my pescado tacos from Sunday!
Chicken Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce (adapted from Truly Mexican)
For the ranchero sauce:
750 g package San Marzano diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno chile, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
2 T olive oil
2/3 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the enchiladas:
Olive oil or vegetable oil
1 cup minced white onion
2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or chopped)
8 corn tortillas
Grated queso fresco
1. Make the ranchero sauce. Combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato mixture to the pan. Add a little water to the blender jar, swish around, and add to the pan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use right away or stash in the fridge to use within a few days (gently reheat before using). Keep warm.
3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray a baking dish with oil.
4. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, and add the onions. Cool about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken and 1/2 cup of the sauce, and cook until heated through.
5. Set aside a plate for the tortillas and have a stack of paper towels ready.
6. Heat 2 T olive oil in a small skillet until it shimmers. Add a tortilla, and cook for 8-12 seconds on each side, until softened but not browned or crispy. The oil should be hot enough that the tortilla sizzles -- if not, wait longer or turn up the heat. Transfer the tortilla to a paper towel-lined plate, and blot with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil as necessary.
7. When all the tortillas are softened, fill each with about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture and roll tightly. Place in the prepared baking dish. Heat in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
8. Spoon the warm ranchero sauce over the tortillas. Drizzle with crema, and sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro. Serve right away. If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge without the crema, cheese, and cilantro, and reheat in the microwave for a couple of minutes before adding the toppings.
Full Disclosure: V&V Supremo sent me complimentary cheese and chorizo to sample; all opinions and recipe testing are my own.