Rick Bayless' Creamy Enchiladas with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile

Because we love Mexican / Tex-Mex, I’ve made a fair number of chicken enchiladas over the years. This modified version of Enchiladas Suizas (Creamy Enchiladas with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile) from Rick Bayless’ Mexico One Plate At A Time truly stands out as excellent.

The flavors meld together perfectly. A blender prepared tomato-roasted green chile sauce is super easy, with a nice amount of kick depending on how many and how spicy your jalapenos are, counterbalanced by the crema (crème fraiche in our case). This may become our new “standard” enchiladas. I could see upping the amount of vegetables and serving these meatless, and they would be great with shredded pork too. Do try RB’s Cowboy Beans from Mexican Everyday too as a great accompaniment, certainly not typical bland Mexican beans. Laced with bacon and jalapenos, and made from canned pinto beans, these are flavorful and come together quickly. You'll never eat refried beans out of a can again. 

Enchiladas Suizas (Creamy Enchiladas with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile)
1 28-ounce can + 1 15-ounce can good-quality tomatoes in juice, drained, preferably fire-roasted
2 hot green chiles, stemmed (depending on how hot you like things)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus a little extra if needed
1/2 cup homemade Mexican-style thick cream or crème fraiche or heavy whipping cream
About 2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken, grilled, roasted or rotisserie chicken
2/3 cup shredded Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua, quesadilla, asadero or the like) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
Whole wheat tortillas (I used 4 large ones that ended up quite “full”)
Green onions, diced for garnish
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish

Roast the chiles under the broiler, watching carefully and turning regularly, until they’re soft and blackened, about 5 minutes. Place in a blender or food processor along with the tomatoes. Blend to a smooth puree.

In a medium-size Dutch oven, heat the oil or lard over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper and cook, stirring regularly, until onion is golden and pepper soft, about 7 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, and stir in the tomato puree. Cook, stirring, until darker in color and thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the broth, partially cover and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. The sauce should be about as thick as spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, stir in a little additional broth. Keep warm over low heat.

Stir the crème fraiche (or one of its stand-ins) into the sauce. Put the chicken in a bowl and stir 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture into it. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

Heat the oven to 350º. Smear enough of the sauce over the bottom of a 11x7-inch baking dish to very thinly cover. Smear a small amount of the sauce in thin layer in the center of the tortilla; add 1/4 of the chicken mixture (depending on the size of your tortillas and number of tortillas), roll tightly, and place in prepared pan. Repeat with all the tortillas. Cover evenly with the remaining sauce, then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the enchiladas are hot through (the cheese will have begun to brown), about 15 minutes. Garnish with green onion and cilantro sprigs. These are best served piping hot from the oven.

Generously serves 4.

Charro Beans
4 thick slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 or 2 canned pickled jalapeños, more to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro.

In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for a minute, then add half the tomatoes with their juice (reserve other half for another use). Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

While beans simmer, dice chilies into small pieces and add to beans. Salt if necessary. Mash with a potato masher to the consistency of refried beans. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Comer Bien!

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