It’s time for another confession, but this one I can blame my mom on! For the longest time I have been using a packet of enchilada seasoning as my base for chicken enchiladas. It is a recipe that my mom has been making for years and one that I have enjoyed as well. When we moved up to NY I noticed that our grocery stores didn’t carry the seasoning mix for enchiladas. I was pretty bummed, so I called up my folks and had them mail me some packets. Well, I have since ran out of the packets they sent me, so I needed to find a new recipe using a homemade chili sauce. This recipe reminded me of my mom’s recipe, only made better with the homemade sauce. The recipe also calls for cooking the chicken in the sauce instead of adding precooked chicken, which provided a more cohesive flavor.
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
Combine the onion, jalapeno, and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Cook until just fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through (thermometer should register at 160 degrees), about 12 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down the onions and tomatoes to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the reserved solids to a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup of each of the shredded cheeses, add the cilantro. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40 to 60 seconds, until warm and pliable. Spoon 1/3 cup of chicken mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.
Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from America’s Test Kitchen