Enchiladas are classically made using either a red sauce or a green sauce. The red enchilada sauce is usually a thin red chile and tomato sauce. With green enchiladas, the green color comes from a sauce made from tomatillos and green chiles.
While this recipe is easy overall, it is a little bit tricky because of the quick pre-frying of the corn tortillas. The reason this is done, besides adding nice flavor to the dish, is to make the tortillas softer and less likely to crack when rolling.
1 1/4 pounds whole bone-in chicken breasts
12 corn tortillas
9 cups water
9 to 12 tomatillos, husked
3 small onions
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
8 fresh green serrano chiles
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shredded Mexican white cheese, or Monterrey Jack
1/4 cup sour cream
Bring 6 cups of the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the tomatillos, 1 small quartered onion, 3 garlic cloves, and 4 serrano chiles. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, or about 30 minutes. Drain, but save some of the cooking water.
Transfer the vegetables to a blender, and add another small quartered onion, 2 garlic cloves, the remaining serranos, and the cilantro to the blender as well. Blend until smooth, or about 2 minutes. If needed, add some of the reserved liquid to the blender to allow the mixture to get smooth enough. Set aside.
Place the green tomatillo sauce in a skillet or saucepan with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, covered, over low heat.
Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan filled with the remaining 3 cups of water, three-quarters of the remaining small onion, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, thyme, bay leaves, and the remaining 3 garlic cloves. Finely chop the reserved quarter of onion and set aside. Bring to just below a boil over high heat. Before the water starts boiling, add the chicken and poach until it is firm, or about 12 minutes. Turn off and let the chicken cool in the broth. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Remove the chicken from the saucepan, then pull the meat off the bones. Discard the skin and bones. Shred the chicken into small pieces and keep warm in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the sour cream and the chopped onion. turn the heat off, cover, and keep warm.
In a heavy, well-seasoned skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Cook the tortillas, one at a time, until soft, for about 3 seconds per side. Remove with tongs, and set aside on paper towels to drain. Cook the remaining tortillas, replenishing the oil if needed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour 1 cup of the tomatillo sauce on a plate, and lay the tortilla in the sauce. Fill the center of the tortilla with the chicken filling mixture, roll up, then arrange in a baking dish. Continue filling and rolling the remaining tortillas. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the enchiladas.
Cover the baking dish with foil, and bake until heated through, or about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with the cheese, the sour cream, and the onion rings. This green enchiladas recipe makes 6 servings.
Billy Bristol is the writer and editor for Spicy Cooking, a website devoted to hot spices, spicy foods, blazing cooking, the hottest cuisines around the world, and “knock-your-socks-off fiery recipes that all chile-heads and chili-head wannabes will love. Spicy Cooking will fire up taste buds and scorch your plate… Guaranteed.
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