Sunday, September 22, 2013

An Echilada Lesson/Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

(Sadly, no pictures today as I was in a rush to cook and we gobbled  them up too fast!)

As a born and bred Texas girl and lover of all things Tex-Mex, I take my enchiladas very seriously. I have a particular affection toward sour cream chicken enchiladas and those will be the subject of today's post.

But, before I get into the specifics of how to make authentic sour cream chicken enchiladas, we must first cover some enchilada basics.

1. Enchiladas are not - repeat after me - enchiladas are NOT made with flour tortillas. If you want to stuff, roll, and smother in sauce a flour tortilla, go right ahead. But, you will not be making an enchilada. You wll be making a burrito (if you fry it before adding the sauce, you will be making a chimichanga, whic I can also get behind.)

Enchiladas are made with CORN TORTILLAS. Fried, stuffed, rolled, and smothered corn tortillas.

Fried?!, you say? That brings me to point ...

2. To make the perfect enchilada, a short dip in the hot oil tub is a must. This will make them more pliable for rolling and adds a depth of flavor and texture.

3. Don't forget the sauce. No, not that sauce. You will smother your beautifully rolled enchilada in the good stuff in a minute. But, one last step before stuffing: the enchilada sauce dip. Just a simple red sauce will do. Once again, this helps with pliability and flavor.

Those three steps are basic to any enchilada you want to build.

Now, onto my glorious sour cream chicken enchiladas.

I have been trying for years to achieve the perfect SCCE. And I have done plentynof research . . . in the form of eating them at every Mexican food restaurant in sight. I have scoured recipes and played around in the kitchen. Each time I come away with a trick, a little closer to perfection.

Last night, I finally hot the jackpot. As close as I think I will ever come to restaurant quality.

So, a key steps:

1. Do not just use plain chicken. Even the most spectacular sauce will not make up for boring, unflavored chicken. And, don't worry if you have done this. So, have a few restaurants I have eaten at.

2. Just covering rolled tortillas in sour cream does not an enchilada sauce make. Just no.

3. A cream of any thing sauce is not a key ingredient. Now, I love a good cream of anything soup in a wide variety of casseoles. They do not have a place in enchilada sauces.

4. Please use monterrey jack cheese.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
12 enchiladas

Adapted from multiple recipes, taste tests, and trial amd error.
Some, of not most, ingredients are not exact. This is more method than recipe.

1 whole fryer chicken
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 small can chopped green chilis
onion, chopped
red enchilada sauce
corn tortillas
vegetable, canola, or corn oil
olive oil
chicken broth
sour cream
ground cumin
verde enchilada sauce or salsa verde
one block monterrey jack cheese
colby or colby jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil your chicken. Nothing special. Just throw him in a pot, cover with water, and boil about an hour to an hour and a half, until done/falling off the bone. Remove from water and set aside until cool enough to handle.

While chicken cools, shred cheeses and saute onion (I used not quite half a small onion).

Once chicken is cooled, remove from boned and roughly shred into a bowl. Pour tomatoes over chicken, breaking them up some, then green chilis. Add onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Lightly fry tortillas in oil (do not use olive oil), flipping once, about 15 to 20 seconds each side. Tortillas are ready when they are pliable and slightly crispy on the edges. Place on paper towels to cool and soak up excess oil.

Pour red sauce into shallow dish.

Assemble enchiladas: dip tortilla in sauce (both sides), add a small sprinkle of monterrey jack cheese, spoon chicken into center, roll, and place seam side down in sprayed casserole dish. Once all tortillas are rolled, set aside and make sauce.

In a pan (I used the same one I sautéed the onions in), heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat until butter is melted. Whisk in flour unti l it is absorbed. Salt and pepper. Whisk in chicken broth,whisking until flour is dissolved and it begins to thicken. Whisk in sour cream to desired consistency. Add cumin and more salt/pepper to taste.

(I used approximately 3 tbsps oil/butter and flour, just over 2 cups broth, and about 8 oz. sour cream.)

Pour sauce over rolled tortillas and cover with foil. Bake at 400 until sauce begins to bubble (10 to 15 minutes). Cover with rest of monterrey jack cheese and just a sprinkle of colby or colby/jack. Bake for another 5 minutes or so, covered, until cheese melts.

Serve with more sour cream spooned on top.

Sissy's Variations:

Yep, variations to my own recipe.

An alternative to frying the totillas in oil is broiling them in rimmed cookie sheets sprayed generously with cooking spray. Downside is having to keep a close eye on them.

I use canned enchilada sauces because I have not yet perfected the red or verde sauce.

I like to shred cheese for recipes like this because it melts better.

I think cumin and the verde sauce are the key ingredients to this sauce, the things that put it over the edge.