Monday, October 31, 2011

I Wanna Lotta Enchiladas

Oh, how I love enchiladas.  I can't get enough.  A few years ago, my husband challenged me to create the best cheese enchiladas ever.  I did that, along with a multitude of other equally righteous versions of enchiladas. 

Since we live in Texas, we do things a little differently.  Now, some of you traditionalists may turn your nose up at Tex-Mex, but it has earned its own status as a genuine bona fide cuisine.  It doesn't claim to be Mexican food.  It's Tex-Mex.  That's because Texan-Mexicans created their own distinctive style of cooking their food their way.  Reknowned Texas food writer Robb Walsh says it best in his book The Tex-Mex Cookbook: "it does not exist elsewhere; it was born on this soil."  "It is a cuisine without pretensions."  And after all, were it not for Texan-Mexicans, we would never have experienced the glorious wonderment of queso!  If you are a Mexican food purist, well, then I apologize if this subject isn't for you.

So back to the task at hand, my latest enchilada delight is Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas.  They are a creamy, cheesy, indulgent concoction that satisfies the most vicious of enchilada cravings.  A lot of enchilada afficionados will tell you to fry your tortillas in oil a few seconds before stuffing to soften them.  I have found that this renders enchiladas, especially cheese, rather greasy as leftovers.  After a few science experiments in the kitchen, I have discovered a better method that doesn't leave a grease puddle in your pan.  If you microwave tortillas in a very damp towel for a couple of minutes, you have soft, pliable tortillas ready to cook and eat with no grease residue left over.  

And, since cheese is one of the New Four Food Groups, there are three kinds in my enchiladas!  Now, these aren't traditional Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas.  Generally they are made with flour tortillas, but I prefer corn.  Also, I almost never use "cream of" soups, and a lot of recipes out there call for that.  This also isn't a traditional white sauce since I love to use cumin and chili powder a lot.  So mine is a brown color instead of white.

Get out your cheese grater and let's go!  

2 C cooked, shredded chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 T chopped jarred sliced jalapenos, to taste
2 T butter
Olive oil
4 oz can green chilies
1/4 C flour
2 C chicken stock
1 1/2 C sour cream
1 T chopped cilantro
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 C Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1 C Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 C Cheddar cheese, shredded
About 12 to 15 corn tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and melt the butter.  Drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onions, jalapenos, and green chilies until tender.  Whisk in the flour.  Add in the chicken stock and whisk vigorously to prevent lumping.  Add in the sour cream, all the spices, salt & pepper to taste, and cilantro.   Cook and stir until the sauce is thick and bubbly.  Stir in the chicken and remove from the heat.   Microwave the tortillas in a damp towel until soft, about 1 minute, flip, then another minute.  

Ladle about half of the sauce in a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Sprinkle a bit of each cheese down the center of each tortilla and add in about two tablespoons of the chicken/sauce.  Roll them up and lay it in the sauce.  Pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle the remaining cheese all over.  Bake 30-35 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired.