Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

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We all have that one food we could eat at least once a week, maybe even once a day if nobody else would frown upon the fact that grilled cheese or ice cream sundaes were not only a part of your daily diet, but also considered a part of your food pyramid. For me, it’s not a particular food, it is an entire category. I love Mexican food. Wrap it up in a tortilla and add some spicy salsa and it’s game over. I could eat Mexican food every day and after going to San Diego for school for four years, I practically did.

The thing I have the hardest time finding living back in the valley now, are good homemade tortillas. A store-bought tortilla will lose in a fight every time against a fresh, hot  off the stove tortilla. They have no preservatives and I guarantee you have all four ingredients in your kitchen right now and you could whip up a batch in 30 minutes (20 of which the dough is resting so you can prep the rest of this dish). Can you mix ingredients together and knead dough for a few minutes? Yes? That’s great! Now you have no excuse not to make these! I learned just how easy it was to make tortillas from one of my favorite cookbooks, Make the Bread, By the Butter by Jennifer Reese and highly recommend this book for anyone curious about how easy (or hard) it is to make the staples you buy at the store. Now this post is not just on the tasty floury goodness of tortillas, it’s about elevating them with a fire roasted tomatillo salsa and cheesy chicken filling.

So how do we fire roast tomatillos without burning down the apartment? Or more importantly, what in the world is a tomatillo? I do have a habit of making up my own words, but a tomatillo is not just a cute word for a little tomato and it is actually closely related to the gooseberry. You will find tomatillos at the grocery store in a thin husk and they are green in color. While they may look like a tomato, I do not recommend biting into one straight out of the husk; it will be tart and may discourage you from using them at all. To get these little guys fire roasted, I use one of my favorite kitchen tools: a mini blow torch. I will take any excuse to use a torch in the kitchen and since I cannot eat creme brulee every night, I have to get creative. Don’t have a torch? No problem! Just turn the broiler on and pop them in for a minute or two. But seriously, look into getting that torch….s’mores will no longer be just a campfire delicacy. After roasting the tomatillos and having way too much fun with my mini blow torch, making the salsa is just a matter of throwing the rest of the ingredients into the food processor or blender! Ta da! Homemade salsa, done.

With homemade tortillas and your very own salsa, let’s keep the filling of the enchilada simple, chicken and cheese. I like to buy a whole roasted chicken from the store and use the meat throughout the week in lunch and dinner dishes because honestly, cooking chicken is a challenge that I am still trying to overcome. Since everything in the enchilada is already cooked, baking time is just long enough to marry the ingredients in a saucy, cheesy goodness masterpiece. As always, I look for any opportunity to add avocado into my meal and I like the creaminess of them over sour cream as a garnishment on my enchiladas, must be the California girl in me.

Happy cooking!

Recipe

Yield: Two enchiladas

Tortillas (yield three tortillas)

  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. & 2 tsp. vegetable oil (shortening or lard can be substituted)
  • ¼ cup water

Tomatillo Sauce

  • 3 tomatillos
  • ½ jalapeno
  • ¼ yellow onion
  • juice from ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 3 shakes of hot sauce

Filling

  • ¾ cup cooked shredded chicken
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar

¼ of sliced avocado for garnish

Instructions

*Since the tortillas require 20 minutes resting time, I recommend making them first to cut down on the overall prep/cook time.

Tortillas (adapted from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter – Jennifer Reese)

  • whisk together the flour and salt
  • mix in the vegetable oil and small clumps will start to form
  • add in the water and mix together until the dough starts to form a ball
  • knead the ball of dough until it is springy, about one minute
  • roll the dough into three equal sized balls, cover with a damp paper towel, and let rest for 20 minutes (while dough rests, I suggest making the salsa!)
  • after the dough has rested, roll each ball into circles about ⅛ inch thick; you do not need to get them into perfectly shaped circles, mine came out circle-ish
  • preheat an ungreased skillet or pan
  • cooking one tortilla at a time, put tortilla onto pan and flip once bubbles start to form, about 30 seconds on each side
  • pick your two best tortillas for the enchiladas and save the third for a snack! It’s always nice to have one extra to allow for practice just in case the first try is a test round 🙂

To make the salsa:

  • peel outer husk from tomatillos, rinse and dry
  • roast tomatillos using blowtorch by moving the flame evenly over the tomatillos until evenly lightly blackened (if using the broiler, carefully watch tomatillos as they start to blacken quickly, it will only take a minute or so to get an even roast)
  • roughly chop tomatillos, onion and jalapeno keeping the seeds intact
  • add all salsa ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, add additional hot sauce if desired
  • your yield should be about 1 cup of salsa, I drained out ¼c of liquid for a chunkier salsa and reserved the liquid to use on a salad later during the week, it’s all up to your preference!

Assembling & cooking the enchiladas:

  • spoon one tablespoon of sauce onto each tortilla
  • evenly distribute chicken between the two tortillas
  • put ¼ cup of cheese into each tortilla on top of the chicken
  • spoon another tablespoon of sauce into each tortilla atop the cheese
  • carefully roll each tortilla and place into a greased casserole dish or bread pan (any dish that will snugly hold your enchiladas in place)
  • pour remaining sauce on top of enchiladas and top with remaining ¼c cheese
  • bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the cheese and sauce are bubbly
  • garnish with avocado and eat up!
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