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The other day I was telling someone that cooking Mexican food comes naturally to me. I think it was growing up in Southern California that did it. Mexican food was a staple in my diet growing up, and then living in San Diego during and after college just solidified those flavors in my head. I know that different regions of Mexico offer different dishes and flavors, so I'm just calling my recipes the SoCal version of Mexican food. :-)
Enchiladas are one of my favorite foods, period. I don't remember learning how to make them...it's just stuck in my head as a recipe. Basically a filled corn tortilla smothered in chili sauce and cheese and then baked, it's Mexican comfort food at its finest. The stuffing variations are endless, but my favorite is seasoned chicken with pepperjack cheese--spicy and filling and luscious all rolled into a corn tortilla...yum!
Green Chile Enchiladas
Serves 6 (at least!)
Cook's Note: This is more of a method than a recipe. Feel free to play with your fillings or leave the meat out for a vegetarian version. This recipe also freezes well. Just wrap well in foil and then bake a few minutes longer straight from the freezer. (Be careful if using a glass pan--it could crack if placed in the oven straight from the freezer. If using glass, let the enchiladas thaw a little before baking.)
2 small chicken breasts, about a pound's worth
1 bottle of beer
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
A couple of grinds of pepper
1/2 of a large block of pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 large can of green enchilada sauce (found in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store)
Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan. Add the bottle of beer and add enough water to cover the chicken by a couple of inches. Heat to a simmer and cook until the breasts are completely cooked through, about 10-20 minutes. Remove the breasts from the liquid and set aside to cool. Once cooled, shred the chicken using your fingers or two forks. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the tortillas in the microwave between a damp towel just until heated through, about 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave, taking care not to burn yourself, and set aside. Pour the enchilada sauce in a wide-mouthed bowl. One by one, dip the tortilla into the sauce until completely covered. Let the excess drip off into the bowl and then place the tortilla into your baking dish. Spread about one tablespoon of chicken in a straight line across the middle of the tortilla. Add about a tablespoon of cheese, and then roll the tortilla. (The tortilla might rip a little. This is okay.) Push against the edge of the baking dish and then repeat with the rest of the tortillas until you can't fit any more. Pour about a half of a cup to a cup of the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas, until all enchiladas are lightly coated. Sprinkle with pepperjack cheese.
Place the enchiladas on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to get golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and/or guacamole.
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