Homemade Mexican Food
When you live in the Southwest, it’s hard not to love Mexican food. Not the drive-through stuff; I’m talking about real homemade.
My favorite dish is chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. It’s what I used to order at Mexican restaurants until I created my own healthy and tasty recipe. Now I make them at home.
Use Leftover Roast Chicken
One nice thing about this recipe is that you can roast the chicken and prepare the sauce a day or two ahead, then assemble your enchiladas and bake when you are ready for dinner.
Quick Tomatillo Sauce
For the sauce I use fresh diced tomatillos, diced onions and spices simmered for 20-30 minutes. A staple in Mexican cuisine, fresh tomatillos look like green tomatoes covered with a papery husk and have a tart flavor. Buy bright green firm fruit. Remove the husks and rinse off the light sticky film.
When assembling my enchiladas I add sweet corn kernels for more texture and flavor. Frozen corn works just fine, and I use roasted corn when I can find it.
Once you have chicken ready and sauce made it’s just assemble and bake when you are ready to eat.
While corn tortillas are traditional for enchiladas (and good if you eat gluten-free), I’ve experimented with different types. Most recently I discovered a fantastic uncooked corn tortilla that you cook for just 60 seconds in a hot pan. They are fresh tasting with wonderful flavor and a light, handmade texture.
Made by Tortilla Land, these corn tortillas are a new product being sold in select Costco stores. I hope they will be expanding distribution soon because it’s a terrific product everyone would love (and they have). I was fortunate to get my hands on a bag for a cooking segment I did for the TV show San Diego Living. I still have one precious package in my refrigerator.
If you can’t get Tortilla Land uncooked corn tortillas, use regular tortillas. I’ve used some that are a blend of corn and wheat. I’ve even used whole wheat, low carb, high fiber tortillas for my carb-conscious clients with great success.
Next time you feel like good Mexican food, look no further than your own kitchen.
This is a client and family favorite recipe. You can do it in steps by roasting the chicken breast and shredding the meat a day ahead. Make the sauce a day ahead as well. Before dinner, just assemble and bake. Alternatively, purchase a store rotisserie chicken, remove skin, and shred the meat.
- 4-5 cups tomatillo sauce (recipe below)
- 2 3/4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup corn frozen kernels, thawed (roasted if you can get them)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish if desired
- 10 corn tortillas (preferably Tortilla Land tortillas)
- 16 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (low fat or regular)
- Light sour cream for garnish
- Roast the chicken. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place chicken breasts on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until chicken reaches 160-165 degrees, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. If you are going to complete the enchiladas now, turn oven down to 350 degrees. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and discard. Shred meat by hand. You should have about 3 1/2 cups. Save any extra for chicken salad or soft tacos.
- Make the filling. In a large bowl, mix shredded chicken, corn, cilantro, green onions and about ½ cup of the tomatillo. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ready a large glass or ceramic baking dish by placing a just enough sauce over the bottom to lightly coat. Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium high and cook tortillas according to package directions. Remove to a plate as they are cooked.
- Assemble the enchiladas. Place one cooked tortilla on a plate. Top with 1 tablespoon of tomatillo sauce, then about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture on top, then sprinkle with cheese. Roll enchilada and place in the prepared baking dish seam side down. Complete with the rest of the tortillas. Top the enchiladas with sauce (you may not need it all) and sprinkle with cheese. Refrigerate or freeze extra sauce after dinner.
- Bake enchiladas covered with foil for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are hot throughout. Take the foil off the last few minutes. To serve, garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro if desired.
- Chicken Note: 1.75 pounds (<1 kilo) of bone-in breasts, roasted and shredded, will yield about 3 cups of shredded meat. That’s is about 14 ounces or 390 grams. This will make 6 enchiladas or enough for 3-4 servings.
- Tomatillo Sauce
- Yield – about 6 cups (freeze extra)
- 3 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, diced medium
- 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced fine
- 3 garlic cloves, minced fine
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Combine tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, garlic, water, oregano and spices in a medium saucepan. Bring almost to a boil, turn down heat to low, cover with a lid and cook until tomatillos are broken down and saucy, about 20-30 minutes.
- Sauce can be used chunky or briefly pureed in a blender to make it a little smoother. If blending hot liquids, take precaution. Fill blender only half full, place lid on top and a towel on top of the lid. Blend on low speed for a few seconds. Do in two batches for safety.
- Use tomatillo sauce immediately or refrigerate after cool for a few days.