Now, this is what I’m talkin about. Are you hungry yet? This really is what you want, isn’t it?
In the prior post, Swordfish with Salsa Verde and Ensalada la Bandera Mexicana (Mexican Flag Salad), I told you that we made the Salsa Verde with 2 dishes in mind. The first one, Swordfish with Salsa Verde and Ensalada la Bandera Mexicana (Mexican Flag Salad), was to illustrate the versatility of salsa verde by coupling it with a nice dense, meaty seafood. Chicken enchiladas with salsa verde is the other dish we had in mind. Anytime I make salsa verde I have to have enchiladas.I just can’t help myself. You see, “my heart soars like a hawk” every time I eat chicken enchiladas with salsa verde. There is something about the combination of the corn tortilla, lightly fried and dredged in salsa verde, that is filled with succulent chicken, rolled into a little packet and finally topped with cheese that is simply divine. So much is happening in such a small space. The aroma of the dish as it’s being served (not to mention cooking), the flavor of the tender, sweet, earthy corn tortilla, the succulence of the chicken, the bright spiciness of the salsa verde and the creamy gooeyness of the cheese all combine to create a spiritual experience. I’m not kidding. It’s just that good. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. You will be glad you did.
- 1 qt salsa verde
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1/2 lb soft, melting cheese (i.e Asadero, Monterrey Jack, etc. I actually use Jarlsberg), grated
- 2 chicken quarters
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1/2 white onion, medium dice
- 2 roasted Serrano chiles
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic, rough chop
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup oil
Now, I’m generally not a big fan of poaching meats as I believe you lose a lot of the flavor of the meat in the water. I don’t care if you leave the meat in the water to cool. As far as I am concerned, you simply lose the flavor into the water. The broth is great but the meat is lacking. Nonetheless, some dishes simply require meat poached in seasoned water. Chicken enchiladas is one of those dishes that require poached meat. In spanish recipes you will see it called pollo deshebrado. I modify the poaching process by not covering the chicken with water. I use less water and let it gently simmer, covered, until it is done. I believe that by doing it this way you retain much of the flavor in the meat while also obtaining the benefits of the seasonings. Note also that I use chicken quarters as opposed to a whole chicken. First, chicken quarters are cheaper. Second, you can use less water. So, to start, place the chicken quarters in a large pot. Add 1 cup of water, the onions, Serrano chile, garlic, oregano and salt. Bring to a simmer.
Once the water comes to a simmer, cover the pot and reduce the heat. Allow to simmer 25 – 30 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and let stand until cool. When cool enough to handle, strain and reserve the broth and vegetables, strip the chicken from the bone and shred. Place shredded chicken and remaining vegetables from the poaching liquid in a bowl and mix together. Cover with foil and set aside in a warm place until ready to serve.
In the meantime, heat the salsa verde. Add the broth from poaching the chicken to the salsa verde and let simmer gently until you have the same 1 qt volume with which you started.
Add a little oil to a skillet and heat over high heat. Add the tortillas one at a time a lightly fry for roughly 30 seconds per side adding oil as necessary. You want the tortillas soft, not crispy.
Stack tortillas and continue frying until all are done.
When all of the tortillas are fried, uncover the shredded chicken, set the salsa verde next to the tortillas, and a baking dish next to the salsa verde. In an assembly line process, dredge the tortilla on both sides in the salsa verde, lay in the baking dish and add 1 – 2 Tablespoons of shredded chicken and vegetables in the middle. If you desire, add a little cheese at this point, too (I don’t). Roll the enchilada into a cylinder and repeat the process until all of the tortillas and chicken are used. Pour the remaining salsa verde over the top.
Top with grated cheese.
Place enchiladas in a preheated 350 F oven to heat through and melt the cheese, roughly 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
NOTES: Although this dish can be prepared ahead of time, I do not recommend it be prepared too far in advance because as the tortillas sit they become soggy.