Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I was still snowed in yesterday, and it doesn't look like I will be getting to the grocery store for at least a few more days, so I'm continuing to cook what I have on hand.  Fortunately, I have a few well-stocked pantry and freezer, and improvising in the kitchen is something I have a talent for.  I also get a little nervous when people ask me what my specialty is.  I really don't have one, and sometimes I feel like that makes me a sub-par cook.  However, I know I'm really great at looking what I have on hand and making a delicious meal out of it.  This is what happened with the chicken enchiladas.  I knew I wanted enchiladas, and I kept thinking about the leftover roast chicken with garlic.  I decided to throw something together and see if it worked.  The result was delicious.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 dried hot peppers (I used Anaheim and Serrano)
1 cup water, boiled
1 tsp. dried coriander
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup veggie or chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped

To assemble:
tortillas, flour or corn
2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar and fontina, but Monterey Jack would be great)

1. Pull the stems off the dried peppers and take out the seeds.  It's okay if a few seeds are left in.  Tear peppers into small pieces and place in a bowl.

2. Place boiling water over peppers and let soak for 10 minutes.

3. Heat oil in skillet while dried peppers are soaking.  Add onion and bell pepper to pan and cook until the peppers are tender and the onion is translucent.

4. Add cooked chicken to onion/pepper mixture.  Cook for a few minutes to heat chicken and blend the pepper and onion flavors.

5. After the dried peppers have soaked, remove from liquid and place peppers in blender.  Add cumin, coriander, salt, garlic, tomato puree, and tomato paste.  Blend to make a sauce.  Add the sauce to the pan with pepper, onions, and chicken.  Stir and add broth.  The mixture should be like a very thick stew.  Cook on low heat for 5 minutes to blend flavors.

6. Add about 1/2 cup of mixture to tortillas and add around 1/8 cup shredded cheese or to your liking.  Roll tortillas and place seam side down in baking dish.  Top rolled tortillas with any leftover mixture and cheese.

7. bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
 8. Add toppings of your choice.  I used tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, sour cream and hot sauce.

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