Mexican Favorites (1993) – Chicken Enchiladas with Tomato Chipotle Sauce
Williams, Chuck. Mexican favorites. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1993. P. 92. [TX716.M4 P34 1993]
By Serena Betts, an undergraduate nutrition student at UTSA
Chicken Enchiladas with Tomato-Chipotle Sauce / Enchiladas de Tomate con Chipotle
- 1 whole chicken breast or 2 breast halves
- 6 tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 onion, cut up
- 1 canned chipotle chili pepper in red adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn oil or other vegetable oil, plus oil for frying
- 18 corn tortillas
- 1 cup (4 oz / 125 g.) shredded Cheddar cheese
Instead of chicken, fill these classic baked enchiladas with leftover turkey or pork for an easy evening main course. Serve the enchiladas with guacamole (recipe on page 25) and refried beans (page 11).
Place the chicken in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well and let cool. Bone and skin the chicken, then, using your fingers or two forks, shred the meat. Set aside.
Heat a dry, heavy frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Roast the tomatoes and garlic on the pan or griddle, turning often, until well charred, about 3 minutes for the garlic and 4 minutes for the tomatoes. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Preheat an oven to 450*F (230*C). Butter a baking dish.
In a small frying pan over high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 1/2 inch (12 mm). When hot, fry the tortillas, one at a time, until soft, about 5 seconds on each side. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Dip each tortilla into the tomato sauce. Top with some of the chicken and then roll it into a cylinder. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. When all of the enchiladas have been formed, pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
The first thing I did to tackle this dish was research the recipe itself. Turns out, enchilada means “seasoned with chili”(Ayto), and in some form enchiladas date all the way back to pre-Columbian times when tortillas were first developed. A variation similar to pre-Hispanic, Mayan enchiladas is still made in the Yucatan with the name papadzules, and is prepared with fresh tortillas and hard-boiled eggs (Katz 494).
Next, I researched the mystery ingredient: chipotle chili peppers in red adobo sauce. I found out that the red adobo component is a dark red, spicy sauce made from an assortment of chilies, herbs, and tomatoes. It is then stewed with chipotle peppers.
Executing the recipe was surprisingly really easy. For the most part, I was familiar with all of the steps except the rolling of the tortillas. This included ensuring that each one had the right amount of chicken and was rolled tight enough. It was a nuisance, but nothing the average person can’t handle. I also chose to tweak the recipe to my own liking by not covering the enchiladas completely in the adobo sauce because it was extremely spicy. The finished product was pretty good for a first try and I didn’t even have to worry about an excess of un-eaten enchiladas on my hands. Although my version of the recipe cannot by any means be considered “restaurant ready” it turned out delicious and proved to be a remarkable learning experience.
“Enchilada” An A-Z of Food and Drink. Ed. John Ayto. Oxford university Press, 2002. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Texas – San Antonio. 23 May 2012 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t134.e453
Katz, Solomon H. and William Woys Weaver. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Scribner 2003. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 23 May 2012