Enchiladas are a love language. At least at my house.
And this week calls for a little extra love. There’s just one more day of grad school classes for the blonde man who makes my world go round. I’m crazy proud of him, not just because he’s done so well-and he has. More because he’s worked so hard-in class, at work, but also to make time for me and the little guy in the middle of the madness.
And at our house, when food needs to scream, “I love you!” or “You’re a rockstar!” – it’s time for some enchiladas. These enchiladas.
Rewind eight years and I was serving as a missionary for my church in Southern California. I spent most of my time among native Spanish-speakers. They-and their food!-quickly won my heart. So what I’m saying is that while I don’t claim to know all of the food secrets of the best enchilada makers in the world, I know some of them. And you’re going to love these.
The star of this dish? The tomatillo.
Don’t be scared of these little guys if you haven’t worked with them before. They’re totally friendly. Just be sure to buy a little bit more (in weight) than what a recipe calls for when using them. Because they’re wrapped up in skins, you can’t always tell if one isn’t in top shape. So you’ll want the buffer of a couple extra, just in case.
Once you peel the papery skins, give them a hard rinse. They’re usually a bit sticky, so they’ll need a good rub while you’re running them under water.
- 2 lbs. chicken breast
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1/2 white or yellow onion
- 3-4 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 lb. tomatillos
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and quartered
- 3 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. (or less) of canola oil (optional)
- corn tortillas
- queso fresco
- sour cream
- Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts, then put them, the broth, the onion, and the garlic in a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.
- When cooked through, remove chicken from crockpot and juices and shred.
- Discard husks and stems of the tomatillos and rinse well.
- Quarter or halve the tomatillos so they're all about the same size and put in a saucepan with broth, jalapeno, garlic, and salt.
- Bring to a boil, let simmer until the tomatillos are tender and a darker green.
- Take everything in the saucepan and put it in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add oil until you reach the consistency you're looking for. You can use chicken broth instead.
- Blend again.
- Soften up tortillas in the microwave (2 or 3 at a time) by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and microwaving for 20 seconds.
- Place 1/4 c. of shredded chicken in a tortilla and wrap.
- Pour sauce over enchilada and garnish with chopped cilantro, crumbled queso fresco, and sour cream.
Another way to go a bit healthier is with the sour cream. If you go to the grocery store and look in the Mexican food section (which is where you’ll find the queso fresco), you’ll also probably see a jar of crema. Crema is basically sour cream, but you’ll pay more for it as crema than just your average sour cream in the dairy section. Crema isn’t as thick as sour cream and it’s a bit saltier. So what I do is take a plastic bottle, spoon about a cup of sour cream into it and then add about 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 tsp of salt. Then I just shake it up and serve it. It goes further and lightens up the taste.
These are perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations! Oh-you can also make the sauce in the morning, throw it in the fridge, and then just reheat it in a saucepan for dinner. (It will thicken up as it cools, but the consistency will return as you heat it up again.) Love meals that I can make ahead!!
We served our enchiladas up with our favorite black beans and some watermelon. It was light, summer-y, and packed with flavor. The perfect way to say, “Peace out grad school!”