Rick Bayless Chicken Enchiladas Recipe. Roasting fresh tomatoes and peppers and topped with a tomato cream sauce and baked until bubbly, this is our favorite enchilada recipe.
Today we’re cooking indoors, using our indoor voices, because it’s 19 DEGREES in Denver. I didn’t know traditional fall colors of gold, rust, and yellow would also include white. Yes, a dusting of snow covers my beautiful summer, now dead, flowers. They’ve even cancelled the Rockies Playoff Game tonight because of inclement weather. We’ve gone from Summer, one week of Fall and smack dab into Winter. I doubt Alaska has even dipped below 20 degrees yet this year. Puff the Magic Weber didn’t even have time to frolic in the Autumn mist, he’s all icy.
Before we get started, I’d like to climb on my soapbox and talk a little about Mexican Food. I love Mexican food. I’m NOT a fan of Americanized Mexican food joints. You know those places that bring you a huge plate of steaming greasy glop that’s covered in two cups of a greasy melted yellow cheese product covering up greasy fried ground beef that’s wrapped in a greasy fried white flour tortilla served with a side of odd looking bland tasting creamed beans also served with melted cheese…Messy and gross. There, I’ve said it and I’m glad I did. I don’t know a lot about true TexMex however.
Food historians tell us TexMex cuisine first occurred in the 1940s. TexMex restaurants surfaced in Southwestern cities with large Mexican populations and is an adaption of Mexican dishes by Texas cooks. The TexMex “fad” began in the 1970s. It is native to the U.S., born on our soil, and chimichangas, fajitas and nachos were invented to please the American palate.
I am however, a fan of Rick Bayless, who has spent many years living in Mexico and brings to us his fresh, delicious creations inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine. The following recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in one of his cookbooks.
So, pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s get started, I’m making Chicken Enchiladas with tomato cream sauce:
First, let’s make the tomato cream sauce. Place about 15 medium sized tomatoes and 2 jalapeno peppers on a baking sheet. Broil in oven about 5 inches from heat for five minutes. I threw in one little Anaheim pepper. You can also use canned tomatoes, which skips this step altogether, but you’d still need to roast the jalapeno. I would suggest when in season, use fresh tomatoes and this method.
When you start to see charred spots, turn the tomatoes and peppers over and broil another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Working over the same baking sheet, remove skins and cores from the tomatoes and remove skins from the peppers. I’m a fraidy cat so I also removed veins and seeds from the jalapeno. Leave them if you like the heat.
Place tomatoes and peppers along with the juices from the baking sheet into a food processor and puree.
In a Dutch oven saute one chopped onion in olive oil until tender, about 7 minutes. Lard or bacon fat is better here.
Turn up heat to medium high and add pureed tomato/chili mixture to onion.
Add chicken broth. Partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When done, texture should be soupy. If too thick add a little more broth. Add 1/2 C. cream, set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, coat three boneless, skinless chicken breast halves in olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and shred the meat. Set aside.
Grate two cups of Monterey Jack cheese. I prefer Mexican melting cheese, but Safeway doesn’t offer the brand I like and I didn’t want to make a special trip up to Whole Foods. So, Monterey Jack it is!
On a baking sheet, place 12 corn tortillas. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a towel to keep warm.
Spoon 1/2 of the tomato cream sauce into a baking pan. Working fast, so tortillas don’t cool, place shredded chicken inside a warm tortilla and roll.
Start placing enchiladas seam side down into the sauce.
Spoon the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Sprinkle with Monterey Jack Cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese just starts to brown.
To serve, place Enchiladas on a plate, garnish with onion rings and cilantro.
I served this with black beans which had been simmered with jalapeno pepper slices and topped with a dollop of sour cream.
The salad: greens, tangerines, avocado slices, diced fresh tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, topped with a creamy cheese vinaigrette.
- 3/4 C. olive oil
- 1/4 C. seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 T. Mayonnaise
- 3 T. grated Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors and add salt and pepper. Pour in a jar with a secure lid and refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before pouring onto salad.
- About 20 small – medium fresh tomatoes
- 2 Jalapeno Peppers
- 2 T. Olive oil or pork lard or bacon drippings
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 2 C. chicken broth
- 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
- 2 C. shredded Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack
- 12 corn tortillas
A few sliced rounds of white onion, separated into rings and cilantro for garnish
note: If using canned tomatoes, roast the peppers and remove the skin and place canned drained tomatoes and peppers directly into the food processor and puree.
We paired this with a Borsao Ciranza. It has a cherry red color with touches of garnet and an elegant, deep ruby background. In the nose, we perceive its great intensity where fruity and varietal tones are combined perfectly with vanilla and smooth oak tannins. Intense in the mouth, fleshy and well-structured with an ample and pleasing aftertaste. (I didn’t write that, that comes directly from the web site – but yes “what they say”).