Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

November 2, 2009 · 24 comments

in chicken/poultry,mexican/tex-mex

I know, I know. Rick Bayless recipes are becoming the new goat cheese recipes on my blog.  But, what can I say? When every recipe I’ve tried has been so simple to make and so good, how can I not keep going back to Mexican Everyday?

I don’t make enchiladas very often because even though they’re not hard to make, they are  fairly time-consuming to assemble.  One thing this recipe definitely taught me is that heating the tortillas in the oven, especially since it’s already heating to bake the enchiladas, is much easier than frying or heating each individual tortilla over a burner.  I didn’t cook my chicken the night before making this as I had initially planned, so I would say that, start to finish (cooking the chicken to actually sticking the enchiladas in the oven), was about an hour (then add to that the baking time).

This recipe was quick and quite tasty, but I have a lot of notes about it, which I decided to put at the end rather than here.  I don’t flatter myself – I know not everyone reads my really exciting and incredibly witty introductions.  Don’t let the notes fool you. These were good enchiladas. Did I think there were a few problems with the amounts?  Yes. Would I change a thing or two next time? Yes.  But the point is, there will be a next time.

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

Adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

4 medium (about 1 oz. total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into flat pieces*
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. canola oil, plus extra for the tortillas
2 cups chicken broth
12 corn tortillas*
salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 generous cups (about 8 oz.) coarsely shredded cooked chicken*
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican melting cheese like Chihuahua, quesadilla, or asadero
1 small white onion, cut into rings, for garnish (optional)
Cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Set a small or medium skillet over medium heat and once it’s hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them against the hot surface with a spatula until aromatic and lightened in color underneath–about 10 seconds per side.  Transfer the toasted chiles to a blender, and add the garlic, tomatoes and juices, cumin and black pepper. Blend to as smooth a consistency as possible.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Set a mesh strainer over the pan and pour in the sauce. Press through the strainer to remove bits of chile skin. Then cook, stirring until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, 5 to 7 minutes.* Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium low and summer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with sugar and salt (Bayless says about 1.5 tsp. but I used closer to .5 tsp).

Brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil and then stack in twos on a baking sheet. Bake  just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove fro the oven and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13×9  baking dish, and stir another 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken. Lay out a warm tortilla, top with a portion of the chicken and roll up. Lay seam side down in the baking dish. Continue filling and rolling the rest of the tortillas and ladle the remaining sauce over the enchiladas* and sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake 10-15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Garnish with onion rings and cilantro if desired.

*Recipe notes:

I used 5 guajillo chiles, and I’m glad I used an extra one.

Typically, 4 oz. of raw chicken will yield about 3 oz. cooked. So, I made this recipe with roughly 12 oz. of raw chicken. However, I still did not have enough chicken to fill 12 enchiladas and only got 8. I would definitely recommend using at least pound of raw chicken, probably closer to 1.25 lbs., if you want to get 12 enchiladas.

I roasted my chicken and seasoned it with salt, pepper, a little cumin, and a little oregano.

Not sure if I have a weak blender, canned tomatoes that had less juice than the normal or what, but this sauce was hard to push through a strainer. Eventually I did get it all through there but it took some serious elbow grease on my part. Also, for me, the sauce needed to cook closer to about 10 or 11 minutes (not 5-7) before becoming the consistency of tomato paste.

I had extra enchilada sauce, but if I made 12 enchiladas, it would have been the right amount.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliana November 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Nice enchiladas…never made them, always have it in restaurants…yours look yummie and full of flavor. Nice pictures!

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Ivy November 3, 2009 at 1:01 am

I am drooling and it’s only seven in the morning.

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Bellini Valli November 3, 2009 at 6:16 am

Quick, tasty and an arm chair journey to Mexico and it’s flavours…what more could a girl ask for.

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Peter G November 3, 2009 at 7:24 am

I tend to make my own version of these as well…but I prefer quesadillas. They look lovely Elly!

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Meghan November 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

These look SO delicious! I don’t know if I’ve ever had an enchilada I didn’t like, but considering this is a Rick Bayless recipe, it must be great! Quick question – did you get the guajillo chiles at a typical grocery store (Dominick’s or Jewel) or did you need to go to Whole Foods to find them? Thanks!!!!

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elly November 3, 2009 at 9:39 am

Hi Meghan – I actually got them at a grocery store in my neighborhood that has various international ingredients. I’m not sure what your grocery store is like, but there’s a good chance you’ll have to try WF or even better a Mexican grocery store (they are way cheaper there, too).

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nina November 3, 2009 at 11:27 am

The time spent making these enchiladas is time well spent, they look divine!!!

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Joan Nova November 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Funny…Mexican is the new ‘goat cheese’. You’re doing a great job in executing Bayless recipes.

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Maria November 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Rick Bayless seems like such a nice guy when I see him on television too … I’ve been meaning to pick up this book. The dish looks great and thanks for the notes at the end; I find it so helpful to really hear about others’ entire experience and tweak a recipe accordingly.

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Erin November 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm

These look so incredibly good! We love enchiladas and have them almost every week :) I will definitely be trying this version, and I think I”m just going to have to order the cookbook already. As much as we love Mexican food, it would be silly not to :)

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joan November 3, 2009 at 8:53 pm

mmm.. looks so good and I’ve always wondered about how complex his recipes would be after seeing him on Top Chef. Made enchiladas once with sauce out of a package.

wandered over from tastespotting… we’re right next to each other today

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oneparticularkitchen November 3, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I join you in your Rick Bayless obsession. You just can’t go wrong!!

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Emily November 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

YUM! These look awesome. I really need to get this Rick Bayless cookbook.

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Monica November 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm

They look really good, i’m mexican and i’ve tried a similar recipe, the only thing that we don’d do here often is “and stir another 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken”, usually the chicken is done the way you did it, a bit roasted or just cooked.

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ashley November 9, 2009 at 9:56 pm

ohhhh yum!! these look sooo good!!

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Kelsey November 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm

These look amazing. Yay for Rick Bayless and Elly!

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Peter November 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Are you sure you’re not part-Mexican? You always bang-out fab tex-mex dishes and always spicy!

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Emma January 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Was just googling because I made this recipe for dinner tonight and found your blog! Man, these were some tasty enchiladas.

For what it’s worth, I found the sauce incredibly hard to strain as well. I wound up pushing through what I could, then adding a little water to help get the rest through (maybe 3 tablespoons or so), then cooking the sauce a bit longer to let the water evaporate out.

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Gertrude January 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I’ve never made enchiladas but they look so good. I’ve decided to give it a try.I know my niece can give any tips I may need. I don’t know about those guajillo chiles though, they may be hard to find.

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Fishman June 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I know it’s kind of cheating but when your trying to get three boys fed in between baseball and homework you can always get a ready roasted chicken at the market while getting the other parts!

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Hannah January 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm

You might try rehydrating the chiles in some boiling water for 10-15 minutes to ease the straining part. I bet this would also impart more flavor since a bunch of the skin was probably lost in your strainer. Looks like a great recipe though!

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elly January 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Hannah, I just made a stew where I did that (boiled, then pureed/strained) and it was definitely much easier, so I think I will try that next time around.

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pelicano May 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Yes, what we usually do for dried chiles is this: wipe with damp cloth to remove any dirt, tear into pieces (remove stems and strips of membrane; remove seeds also if you want it milder), then toast pieces on cast iron on med-low heat, alternately pressing and turning to avoid burning (a wok works really well; watch the fumes- open a window), then place pieces into a bowl and cover with hot water and a plate to submerge and soak for an hour or two… then puree (adding soaking-liquid and/or water as needed), and then strain through a wire sieve (you can also use a Foley/hand-crank, but the sauce will be smoother with the sieve), pressing with the back of a spoon until you have nothing but the fiber/seeds left to discard. Since this sauce uses tomatoes for the sweet/sour taste, these would be pureed and strained with the chiles together. Then reduce this fine puree to desired consistency and season to taste.

I hope that helps. I think Mr. Bayless left this step out- have never heard of trying to “do it dry” before. And btw: your enchiladas look lovely! ;-)

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Trimixjoe January 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

The key to make them amazing and authentic is take the tortillas and soak them in the sauce, then fry them in lard for 1 min. on each side which will make them plyable and soaked to perfection. Let them cool and then roll.

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