Winter is hanging on for dear life this year. So, I am trying to enjoy all the comfort food I can before Spring hits! Mother nature seems to have quite the sense of humor. We will have a few days where it’s above freezing, the sun is warm and you want to do nothing but soak in all the sunlight possible. Then, the temperature plummets and we are thrown back into single digits and snuggling up by the wood stove. But, that’s New England for you!
On to this wonderful dish. This is a fantastic comfort food. How can you go wrong with enchiladas!? They are cheesy and delicious. The chicken is wonderfully tender and making your own red sauce adds terrific flavor. Don’t let the process of making these intimidate you, because, believe me, it is so worth it. In fact, I might need to change my dinner plans tonight…
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon canola, or grapeseed oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or mozzarella, divided
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
- 12 8-inch corn tortillas
- Cooking spray
Combine the onion, jalapeño and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook just until 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 (160˚ F on an instant-read thermometer), about 15-20 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 on 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 ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of each of the shredded cheeses, and the cilantro. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Oil a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray. Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds, until warm and pliable. Spoon 1/3 cup of the 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˚ F. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce oven 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.