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If you prefer, Monterey Jack can be used instead of cheddar, or for a mellower flavor and creamier texture, try substituting an equal amount of farmer's chees.

Be sure to cool the chicken before filling the tortillas, or the filling will make the enchiladas soggy.


1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12 ounces), trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
0.75 cup water
0.5 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 (4 ounce) can pickled jalapenos, drained and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2.5 cups)
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Sour cream
Diced Avocado
Shredded romaine lettuce leaves
Lime Wedges


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the chicken and coat thoroughly with the spices, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the tomato sauce and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and flavors have mleded, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Pour the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the strained chicken mixture to extract as much sauce as possible; set the strained sauce aside.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a large plate and freeze for 10 minutes to cool; when cool combine the chicken with the cilantro, jalapenos, and 2 cups of the cheddar in a medium bowl.

4. Smear the entire bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with 3/4 cup of the chile sauce; set aside.

Spray both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil spray. Spread 5 of the tortillas over a baking sheet. Bake until tortillas are soft and pliable, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the tortillas to clean work surface. Drop a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling onto each warm, softened tortilla and roll up tightly.

Arrange the enchiladas, seam-side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas (toasting and filling the tortillas, and arranging the enchiladas in the baking dish). Increase the oven temperature to 400 dgrees.

Pour the remaining chili sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce so it coats the top of each tortilla. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas.

5. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake the enchiladas on the lower-middle rack until they are heated through enough and the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, psasing the garnishes separately.

Variation: Cheese Enchiladas

Queso Fresco is a slightly salt, fresh Mexican cheese, also known as Queso Blanco. If unavailable, substitute 6 ounces of farmer's cheese or feta.

Follow the recipes for Chicken Enchiladas, omitting the chicken and cheddar. Add 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped, with the onion in Step 1 and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (about 2 cups) and 4 ounces crumbled queso fresco (about 1 cup) with the cilantro and jalapenos in step 3.