I don’t think Red Sauce should have the corner on the Enchilada market…do you? Nor should that melted creamy ooey-gooey cheesy filling for that matter. (Did I just type that out loud?) For this recipe the combination starts with a savory chicken and mushroom filling and finishes with a fresh tomatillo cream sauce jazzed with Hatch Green Chile and cilantro.
Enchiladas have a casual reputation but in reality are a bit time consuming to put together. Preparing the filling and making the sauce isn’t usually one of those thirty minute and on the table meals. But who doesn’t love the texture of a warm corn tortilla with a savory filling and topped with an exciting sauce? Normally I would finish the tortillas and snuggle them in a baking dish to bake in the oven. But this recipe cuts some time off the process by simply dipping the tortillas in the warm sauce and quickly filling with a hot chicken and mushroom mixture. For the cheese no melting is required, as you simply sprinkle with Cotija to finish. This meal started from a Rick Bayless recipe and ended with my own twists. Because the enchiladas aren’t baked, Rick suggests using pre-warmed plates to insure a warm entrée. Let’s take a look.
The Tomatillo Sauce is easy to throw together. With fresh husked tomatillas, garlic and Hatch Chiles, your food processor makes for quick work.
Put in the whole garlic, one clove at a time, making sure each clove is chopped before adding the next, then add the quartered tomatillos.
Top with whole roasted Hatch Chile. These chiles are from freezer stash from last Fall. I simply defrosted them enough so I could separate the chiles, chop the tops off and remove most of the seeds and rub off some of the charred roasted skin. Remember, never rinse the chiles under water to remove the skin as you wash away the smoky flavor. I also like to leave a little bit of the charred skin on.
Put the lid on, push that button and within a minute you’ve got a beautiful salsa.
I’ve made this salsa many times and to add more flavor I’ve used a teaspoon of earthy Chamayo chile powder.
Or if I’m feeling brave, some hot Ancho chile powder.
In the meantime, roast chicken breasts that have simply been seasoned with salt and pepper. When cool, remove them to a cutting board and cube into small bites. Or, if you prefer, shred the meat.
To turn that salsa into a cream sauce, simply pour it into a sauce pan and heat it over medium heat, stirring until nice and bubbly and reduce until it’s the consistency of a tomato sauce. The more you cook the sauce, the richer and sweeter it will be. Then add chicken broth to blend the flavors.
While the sauce is simmering, heat oil in a sauce pan add the mushrooms. You’ll cook the mushrooms until they begin to brown. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add spinach and chicken and cook until the spinach has wilted.
Back to the tomatillo sauce, you’ll add Mexican crema and then keep the sauce warm on low heat. Give warmed tortillas a good dip in the sauce, fill them with the chicken and mushroom filling and arrange on a warmed plate and top with more sauce, onion and cilantro. Sprinkle on the salty Cotija and you’re in for a real treat.
A different and unique enchilada recipe that you’ll find exciting in a delicious and fresh sort of way.
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 whole roasted Hatch green chile, tops cut off, skin and seeds removed
- 10 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters
- ½ - 1 t. New Mexico chile powder such as Chamayo or Ancho
- ¾ C. rough chopped cilantro
- 3 T. olive oil
- 2 C. chicken broth
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 large red onion, thin sliced
- 10 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried
- 1 C. cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
- Salt to taste
- 12 corn tortillas
- 3 T. Mexican crema
- ½ t. sugar
- 1 C. Mexican crumbling cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor chop the garlic one piece at a time. Add the tomatillos, cilantro and chiles and process until smooth.
- Heat the 1½ tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the puree and cook stirring nearly constantly until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick tomato sauce. About 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer over medium heat for another 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown. Add about three quarters of the onion and reserve the rest for garnish. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion looks translucent. Add the spinach and chicken and cook for a minute or so, until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt. Cover to keep warm.
- Lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet and brush lightly on both sides with olive oil. Stack them in twos and slide them into the over an bake just long enough to where they are soft. About 3 minutes. Remove from oven and stack them in a single pile and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
- Stir the creme into the tomatillo same. Taste and season with salt and sugar. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the sauce onto a warmed plate. Hold a tortilla by one edge and dip most of it into the sauce and lay it on the plate. Spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons of the filling down the center, roll up and positioning the enchilada seam side down. We did two enchiladas per plate. Douse the enchiladas with ¼ cup of the warm sauce and sprinkle with crumbled cheese, sliced onion and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Chicken Enchiladas with Spinach Mushrooms and Tomatillo Cream Sauce…It’s what’s for Dinner.