Ways to my heart:
1. Buy me enchiladas
2. Make me enchiladas
3. Be enchiladas
~ Internet image ~
As I mentioned in my Drunken Beans post, there are many Mexican restaurants and take-aways in South Africa, but people generally do not cook much Mexican food at home. You would find people making lasagne at home much rather than enchiladas. But even though I love lasagna, I have been converted to enchiladas in a big way. I follow a Facebook blog by an author called Gill Sims. Her sketches on family life with two dogs, two children and a husband are hilarious. My favourites are always the ones where her husband asks for something simple like lasagna on a Friday night. If you have ever made lasagna from scratch, you will know it is not really simple and entails many steps and dirty dishes! Making White Chicken Enchiladas is less work and so tasty! And I have found a way of cooking the chicken filling that is done mostly by the oven, so less work!
Make me enchiladas
Enchiladas are filled tortillas baked in a savoury sauce. They can be filled with meat, veggies or beans and the savoury sauce is usually made with cheese. The first time I saw a YouTube chef make Chicken Enchiladas, she actually used rotisserie chicken and bottled sauces. This is a very good option and would cut out even more time. But bare with me – this recipe will not take you much longer. My secret is making pulled chicken in the oven. I use my Dutch Oven pot, brown everything on the stovetop, add the extra ingredients and pop the whole lot in the oven for an hour. I have other important Friday afternoon tasks to do – like watching Netflix! Then you just “pull” the chicken, make a quick cheese sauce and fill your tortillas with the pulled chicken.
Saucy and cheesy
“Make a quick cheese sauce” might not be something you want to do. I would definitely say that topping your enchiladas with a shop-bought cheese sauce will not make any difference to the taste. I happen to like making cheese sauce and I am lucky in that I have a daughter who is The Greatest Grater. She grates cheese on a box grater on demand. I don’t actually know whether she likes doing it, but she really is The Greatest Grater! So cheese sauce is a quick thing with help from a few friends (or a bag of ready-grated cheese from a shop). And that’s the whole process for delicious enchiladas barring the oven having to bake it into a bubbly, cheesy delight. You are also welcome to fill your tortillas with beef mince cooked with some Taco Seasoning, or something like my favourite vegetarian Mexican dish, Drunken Beans.
White Chicken Enchiladas
- 30 ml vegetable oil
- 8 skinless, deboned chicken breasts (or 4 breasts and 4 thighs)
- 2 tbsp Mexican or Taco seasoning (or more if you like it spicy)
- 2 cups peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes or tomato salsa
- 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 100 g butter
- 2 tbsp flour or cornstarch (heaped)
- 2 t mustard powder (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups milk
- 1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
To assemble the enchiladas
- 8 - 10 flour tortillas
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven or large heavy-based pot. Fry the chicken portions until nicely browned.
- Add the Taco Seasoning and fry until fragrant. Add the peppers and stir-fry for a few minutes.
- Add the black beans, tomato or salsa, season with salt and pepper and put the lid on. Bake in the oven for one hour.
- Once the cooking time has finished, remove from the oven, and "pull" the chicken using two forks. Mix the pulled chicken with the sauce in the pot.
- About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, put the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and add the mustard powder, salt and flour, stirring continuously with a sauce whisk.
- Once all the flour has been incorporated and there are no lumps, replace the pot on the heat and slowly add the milk while stirring continuously.
- Let the sauce thicken over medium heat while you keep on stirring. Once the sauce is thick and bubbly, add the grated cheese and mix well.
To assemble the enchiladas
- Increase the oven temperature to 200°C and grease a large, rectangular ovenproof dish.
- Cover the bottom of the ovenproof dish in a layer of cheese sauce. Place a large spoonful of pulled chicken on a tortilla and roll up the tortilla as you would a pancake.
- Place the filled tortilla in the oven dish on top of the cheese sauce. Continue filling tortillas in this way until your oven dish is full.
- Cover the rolled tortillas in the cheese sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and bubbly.
- Serve with some chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno chillies, chopped coriander, sour cream or guacamole (or all of it!).