When we made the decision to purchase pastured, non-hormone, non-antibiotic laden meat, it meant a hit to the pocketbook. Neither Anthony nor I received spontaneous bonuses from our employers to reward our altruistic food choices.
Since then, I’ve learned to stretch meat in creative ways – in fact, downright delicious ways, chicken enchiladas being just one of them. I was taught this recipe by the mother of an old friend from college. We’ve long since lost contact, but the treasured enchilada recipe remains.
On a personal note, this was the first time that Acie joined me as sous chef. She did an exceptional job for an 18 month old, and I can report that, without question, she adores enchiladas!
In order to get the shredded chicken for this recipe, I typically make stock, using bone-in chicken, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, peppercorns, salt and thyme. I let the stock simmer in a crock pot for 6 hours, then remove the chicken, allow it to cool and shred the chicken off of the bone. This method leaves me with plenty of tender, shredded meat, as well as a wonderful stock for other recipes. The marrow in the bones adds a rich flavor to the stock. In addition, the bone-in chicken also tends to be less expensive.
- 2-3 cups shredded chicken
- 16+ ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1/3 cup sliced olives
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 10 corn tortilla
- 32 ounces enchilada sauce, canned or homemade
- mild flavored oil for frying tortillas
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Gently heat enchilada sauce in a sauce pan. It should be very warm, but not hot.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry each tortilla lightly, flipping once and transferring to a paper towel to remove excess oil. Place a paper towel between each tortilla, and add more oil to the skillet as necessary. I’ve tried skipping this step to save on calories, but the texture and flavor of the enchiladas are really lacking without it.
- Place 1/3 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish. Place the remainder of the enchilada sauce in a wide bowl.
- Place the first tortilla in the wide bowl and coat on both sides with enchilada sauce. Place the sauce-coated tortilla in the baking dish. Put 2-3 Tbsp of chicken in the tortilla, follow with cheese, olives and onions. Wrap and tuck the seam side under. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- When you’re done filling the tortillas, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top. Top with the remaining Monterey jack cheese. If you tend to get overzealous with the cheese like I do, you may want to set aside a cup of shredded cheese at the beginning to make sure you have some left for the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.