Enchiladas…gooey, cheesey, spicy and warm enchiladas. The thought of it makes your mouth water and puts a little spring in your step. You might even say to yourself, ‘Tonight, I’m making a big ol’ plate of enchiladas for dinner. Let’s get some beer to go with it, why not? Diet starts tomorrow!‘. So you go to the store, get the necessary ingredients: tortillas, chicken, and cheese then you go and buy a can of enchilada sauce. ‘Looks good‘, you think to yourself with high hopes of how delicious it’ll all be. Then you open the can and taste it. Ugh…metallic soup. You try spicing it up with some cumin, chili pepper or lime juice but nope. All you taste is metal. ‘That’s it!‘ you say to yourself. ‘From now on I’m just going to go out to eat when I go for enchiladas. Making it at home is just not as good’.
Well, I am here to tell you that throwing together a big tray full of spicy enchiladas is possible and easier than you expect, especially the sauce. You don’t need much: some spices, chicken broth, a can of stewed tomatoes and it doesn’t take much time. All you need to do is combine it all together, stir and cook on the stovetop. I guarantee that once you start making your own sauce, you’ll never go back to anything you find in a can.
15-20 medium sized corn tortillas
2-3 skinless chicken breasts
1 medium red onion (diced)
1 handful cilantro
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes (400g/14oz)
Cheese (whichever kind you like best and as much or as little as you like)
1 L (~4 cups) chicken broth
1 tbsp Mexican chile powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp lime juice
Put the chicken broth in a medium sized pot or saucepan, bring to boil. Add chicken and cook up the meat is fully cooked (no longer pink and the internal temperature has reached 165F/75C). Take out chicken and place on a plate to cool.
While the chicken is cooling, blend tomatoes, 1/2 of the red onion, a small handful of cilantro, garlic, Mexican chile pepper, cumin and oregano together together in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth then add it to the remaining chicken broth in the pot. Stir together, increase temperature to high and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes on low heat. After 10-15 min of simmering, add lime juice and cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir and let bubble for 2-3 minutes then season with salt and pepper to taste.
While enchilada sauce is cooking, start shredding the boiled chicken by tearing it apart with your hands. Be careful to let the chicken cool before shredding.
To assemble the enchiladas, sprinkle the diced red onion in the center of the enchilada and top with shredded chicken. Roll the tortilla with chicken and onion inside up and place (open side down) in a baking tray*. Repeat until the entire baking tray is full. Top with enchilada sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese and place in the oven at 450F/220C until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro on top as a garnish and serve.
*Tip: If you don’t want the tortillas to get soggy and melt into the sauce, do what my mom does. Just dip a tortilla in hot oil and fry it for 5-10 sec, then assemble the enchilada.