Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

9.8.10 § 15 Comments

Well hello, anyone still reading this little old blog of mine! Long time no see! I’m really glad you’re here, despite my unacceptably long absence. I’ve got no excuse and I’m sorry. For the moment, let’s put aside any hard feelings though and get down to business, shall we?

While I may not have had kale or fennel growing up, there is one thing I did have in abundance. Enchiladas. In the little town I call home, there is a Red Lobster, a Chili’s, and an Applebees. Outside of that, there’s pretty much only one other option: New Mexican food (very similar to Mexican food). I am not complaining about this.

Now that I’m living here in New York, I pine for the tortillas, guacamole, and carne asada that I grew up on. I yearn for homemade salsa and sopapillas. I dream of fajitas and the magical green chili stew king burrito of my youth. (Sorry, I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I really miss this food. And yes, it’s that good.)

Despite my love for my native cuisine, it’s never been something I tried to make at home. I think it’s probably because I was afraid I couldn’t measure up. However, one night, not that long ago, I felt inspired. Trolling through the usual recipe indexes on my favorite food blogs, I felt a pang of homesickness while perusing Homesick Texan (I know, how appropriate).

Within minutes of finding the post, I’d made up my mind to try my hand at making enchiladas for the first time. But not just any enchiladas, sour cream chicken enchiladas, which were one of my first great food loves. For a span of probably four years (yes, you read that right, four years), I’d order these enchiladas each time we went to my favorite Mexican joint, Leal’s (basically, once or twice a week). I was obsessed.

Now when I go home, I alternate between sour cream chicken enchiladas and a few other choice dishes, but they’ll always hold a special place in my heart (which is why I was especially nervous to make them, not to mention the fact that making enchiladas is pretty time-consuming).

I will admit that despite how much I love Leal’s, these enchiladas were up there with their version. I was pretty impressed with my first go-round, and I’ll definitely be banging out more enchiladas in future. The roasted tomatillos in these adds a tartness to the sauce that I really liked…maybe I’ll send Leal’s a tip. Thanks a ton to the Homesick Texan, who helped this homesick New Mexican whip up a little bit of home.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Homesick Texan
makes 12 enchiladas

Filling:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil, salt and pepper
1/2 large onion, diced

Sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Serrano chiles, diced (1 jalapeno if you can’t find Serrano chiles)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 fresh tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the oil, let it warm, then cook the chicken breasts on each side for about three minutes. Place the skillet in the oven (or transfer to baking dish if skillet isn’t large enough) and bake for 30 minutes. When chicken is done, take it out and let it cool. Then, shred it with a fork. (Keep the oven on, you’ll use it again!)

While cooking the chicken, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Throw in the diced Serrano chiles and cook until soft, three or for minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the flour and cooking one more minute. Pour the broth into the pot, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens (this took me about ten minutes). Stir in the sour cream, cumin, cayenne and cilantro. Remove from the heat.

Place halved tomatillos on a foil-lined baking sheet under the broiler and cook until blackened, about 4 minutes per side. Put them in a blender and add the sour cream sauce. Puree until smooth.

Heat the canola oil in a skillet and warm tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side, until soft. Add more oil as needed. Wrap in a cloth to keep warm while you finish all of them.

To assemble, pour about 1 cup of the sour cream sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Take each corn tortilla and put in about 1/3 cup shredded chicken, 1 tsp diced onions, and 1 tbsp of the cheese. You can really just eyeball those amounts. Then, roll the tortilla around the filling and place it in the casserole, seam side down. When all tortillas are in the pan, cover with remaining sauce (all of it!) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until top is brown and bubbling.

Garnish with cilantro and serve!

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§ 15 Responses to Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

  • oh wowww. i totally need to try more authentic versions of the Mexican food I think I know (and most certainly love) in NYC. my californian friend is very picky about her Mexican food and claims that nothing in NYC or on the east coast comes even close to the food at home in its quality and authenticity. this makes me wonder: is there a difference between California-Mex and Tex-Mex?

    my vote goes for a tex-mex dinner party very soon!

    • tyla says:

      There is certainly a difference! California-Mex I don’t know that much about, but Tex-Mex definitely differs just depending where in Texas you are, and then New Mex-Mex (haha) is an entirely different category. I’ve got a New Mexican cookbook I’m trying to get the nerve up to work through…once the kitchen is unpacked! Still working on that one…

  • renie says:

    Tyla,
    Hello! Have missed your blog. Just finished canning salsa with all the ingredients coming straight from my garden. Yummy!!! Wish you were here and we’d have some with guac and chips. I only make enchiladas with El Monterrey Enchilada Sauce but these did sound good. How’re the internships? Turning into paying jobs yet? I’m ready to write blogs and quite teaching this year…may be getting old, but only my AP babies are making me happy this year. I keep telling my babies that I had one very successful gal who went through Duke — you are a legend in my classes!
    Love ya,
    Renie

    • Gin says:

      Wasn’t there that one girl who took your class and is now at one of the best grad schools in her field, doing research on one of the world’s major food crops, hoping to go into global sustainable agriculture? I think I remember her. She likes guac and chips too. Just saying… 🙂

      • tyla says:

        Hahahaha! Don’t worry, you and I are only like Renie’s adopted daughters! Wish the three of us could have a guac and chips party! (I’m thinking margaritas would be a welcome addition too…)

  • Ben says:

    I was temped to make that recipe when I saw it on Homesick Texan a while back too… never got a chance though. I just relocated to NYC from Minnesota but I’m pretty confident I’ll never have to start a Homesick Minnesotan blog, was never a fan of meatloaf and tatertot hotdish. Funny how everyone seems to read the same blogs though

    • tyla says:

      I definitely advise making it – worth the effort! As for everyone reading the same blogs, they’re popular for a reason I guess…

      Is “meatloaf and tatertot hotdish” all one thing? Now I’m intrigued. Maybe you should write about it!

      • Ben says:

        No, they are two separate things. Tatertot hotdish is something I know nothing about making, better left in the hands of professional soccer moms I think…

  • Gabby says:

    She returns! I’m so glad!! 🙂 I was about to write on your wall to give you a push…but it looks like I need the kick in the butt now!

    • tyla says:

      Haha. I was looking at your blog like yesterday, thinking about writing on your wall, bugging you about a new post! Also, I may steal your new theme. It’s gorgeous. I want to do a total redesign, but until then…I may just be a huge copycat. Now write a post!

      • Doo it! I’m glad you noticed 🙂 The theme is Oulipo…whatever that means. I need a lesson on blog design/css/everything–I want to do a lot more! Maybe first I should buy the actual WordPress upgrade?

        I’m starting a new post…NOW. Lamb kebabs or Thomas Keller creamed corn? Hmm…

  • Gin says:

    Nicely done! I feel that I need to point out that the lack of green chiles, but they’re probably hard to find. Maybe I’ll have to see what I can do about that.

    I know what you mean about missing the food. I’m dramatic too. It’s hard to explain to the uninitiated – I seriously have dreams about the burritos!

    • tyla says:

      You know, I’m not sure that there are green chiles in the Leal’s version. They don’t really have any heat. Maybe I’ll make a few phone calls and see if I can find out…

  • Lisa says:

    Those look great–so happy you enjoyed them!

  • Jen says:

    Love the site redesign. It always feels good to spruce things up, doesn’t it? I’m working on my “fall” color scheme, tossing around some ideas but haven’t decided yet. I have relatives in Texas who I visit and it’s so very true that people from the south(west) really know their food.

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