Mmmm…, must have been the thought of Cinco de Mayo… but I’ve finally found a great green sauce for enchiladas. Not spicy (although it would be easy to up the heat) but tasty and tangy, which it should be, having being made with 2 lbs of fresh tomatillos. I liked the flavor of the chicken poached in cilantro and mint, but I think that delicate flavor got lost when the sauce, cheese, and tortillas were added. So you might just want to make your own enchilada filling and use this sauce. Delicioso!
Don’t assemble the enchiladas until 10 minutes before you want to eat (but the the sauce, the chicken, and the filling can be made a day or more in advance). I made the mistake once of assembling the enchiladas in the morning and refrigerating until ready to cook. The sauce soaked into the tortillas and by the time I had removed the casserole dish from the oven I knew that I had one horribly dry dish on my hands. So dry, that all the sour cream in the carton couldn’t help…
Green Sauce (Salsa Verde)
2 lbs tomatillos (about 15), husks removed and washed
2-3 Serrano chilies or 1 Jalapeno (I’m a wimp, I used 1 Anaheim)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small while onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 1/2 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
1 cup chicken broth (saved from poaching the chicken)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Char the tomatillo and chilies. Do this over an open flame on your stove top, on the grill, in the frying pan, or in a hot oven. I grill over the gas burner on my stove. You are looking for the tomatillos to soften slightly and have a few charred spots. Remove tomatillos to a large bowl or platter to cool. Put the charred chili in a brown bag to cool. When cool, remove all the charred skin. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a frying pan. When hot add onion and saute onion until soft, add the garlic, and saute about 2 more minutes. Put the tomatillos, peeled chili, onion and garlic in a blender and process until smooth. Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan. Add in sauce from blender and cook for about a minute. Stir in salt (to taste), chicken broth, cumin, and cilantro. Simmer for about 4 minutes and set aside.
1 small chicken, cut into 3 parts (or all thighs, or all breasts, or combo…about 2 lbs meat total)
8 cups water
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped (skin still on)
6 garlic cloves
2 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided use
8 springs cilantro
3 large sprigs fresh mint
1/2 tsp. black pepper
salt, to taste
Place chicken in pan with water, yellow onion, garlic, 2 tsp. salt, cilantro, and mint. Poach chicken until done, 20-45 minutes depending on cuts of chicken and thickness of meat. Let chicken cool in broth. Remove chicken from broth and shred. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken bones back into broth and simmer for an additional 30-60 minutes to make a richer broth. Strain 1 cup of broth from pan and add to the green sauce above.
For the enchiladas
shredded chicken from above
2 cups monterey jack cheese (or mexican blend cheese), divided use
1 can sliced black olives, optional
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup salsa verde
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
Queso Fresco, crumbled (or additional shredded cheese)
Sour cream or Mexican Crema
1/2 red onion, finely chopped, optional
Combine shredded chicken, 1 cup shredded cheese, optional olives and onion along with 1/2 cup salsa verde. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Just before it’s time to eat…
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat vegetable oil over high heat. Lightly fry tortilla in oil for about 5 seconds on each side or until soft. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all 12 tortillas are cooked. Dip tortilla into salsa verde, add in a scant 1/4 cup of chicken mixture, and roll. Place into baking dish, seam side down. Repeat until all tortillas and chicken are used. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas in pan. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Finish off in a hot broiler for 2-3 minutes if you want nicely browned cheese. Garnish enchiladas with crumbled Queso Fresco and sour cream or Mexican Crema. Servir y disfrutar.
Ooops. Almost forgot to tell you where I found this recipe. It was in the San Jose Mercury News last month (don’t have the date on the clipping) and it’s attributed to Agustin Gaytan.
Thanks for visiting!