Besides preparing soups, when it’s chilly outside, I love to bake big pans of chicken enchiladas when I invite friends over for dinner. My all-time favorite enchiladas are the ones made with chicken and salsa verde.
My mom’s were filled with a simple poached shredded chicken, a quick salsa verde and a garnish of cheese. She rarely ever baked them covered in cheese like you see in most recipes.
I still fix them this way for my husband, since I have not fully persuaded him as to how tasty cheese can be! He would try it, if I asked nicely… For this chicken enchilada recipe I combined two dishes I love, chiles rellenos and enchiladas, the best of both worlds!
Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and pickled jalapeños and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. In the blender, add the tomatoes, cumin, oregano, chile ancho powder, pepper, pinch of salt, chicken broth and brine from jalapeños. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt.
Add the tomato mixture to the pan with onions. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add chicken, peas and carrots. Cook at a low simmer until most of the broth reduces, about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and set aside.
Peel and wash the tomatillos. Transfer them to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook just until they turn from bright green to olive green. Drain them and transfer them to blender, add chile serrano, garlic, cilantro, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Blend on high until smooth, set aside.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Add 1 cup of salsa verde to the bottom of a baking dish (9×13) and spread out evenly, set aside.
Heat a large griddle pan to medium heat. Brush the corn tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Heat the tortillas for a minute per side or until you get some light golden spots. Stack the tortillas onto a plate as you heat them.
Fill each pepper with just enough chicken filling so it still closes, do not overfill. Wrap one tortilla around each chile relleno as tight as you can and transfer them, seam-side down to the baking pan with salsa verde. Cover the enchiladas with just enough salsa verde to cover, add cheese and bake in preheated oven just until cheese melts.
Garnish with any leftover salsa and any or all of the garnishes listed. Makes for some very hearty enchiladas. Serve with your favorite rice.
If you want to roast your own peppers, just roast under broiler for 5 to 6 minutes per side, let steep then peel and remove seeds. If cooking for 2, just build as many enchiladas as needed and transfer to the plate, top with salsa and cheese and heat in microwave until cheese melts. This is how I do it most times for us.