The key to keeping these chicken enchiladas (or any enchiladas for that matter) from drying out is to quickly fry the tortillas. Frying brings out their corn flavor and makes them more pliable and easier to work with. As soon as the tortillas are done frying, dip them into the salsa verde so that they are completely drenched, then start filling and rolling.
Don't be shy about drowning them in sauce before you bake them—in this case, you can never have too much.
To learn more, read "Roll Play."
Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the Filling:
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium yellow onion, halved
1 garlic head, split in half
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup salsa verde (recipe below)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 ounces (about 1½ cups) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
For the Salsa Verde:
4 large poblano chiles
2½ pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, cut into ½-inch rounds
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Enchiladas:
¾ cup canola oil
Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
2 ounces (about 2 cups) Cotija cheese, crumbled
¼ cup crema or sour cream
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1. Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken, onion, garlic and salt. Cover with chicken stock or water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the chicken and let cool. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it until you have 3 cups. Set aside.
2. While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa verde: Position the oven rack to the upper level and turn on the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the poblanos, tomatillos and onion rounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Broil, flipping once, until the chiles, onions and tomatillos are lightly charred and the tomatillos begin to burst, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Place the poblanos in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap; let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes to steam. Stem, peel and seed the poblanos.
4. In a food processor, combine the cooked poblanos, tomatillos and onion with the garlic, serrano chiles, cilantro and cumin. Season with salt and pulse until a rough sauce has formed. You don't want the sauce to be too smooth. Makes 4½ cups. Set 1 cup of the salsa verde aside. Pour the remaining salsa verde into a saucepan and keep it warm over low heat.
5. In a mixing bowl, combine the reserved 1 cup of salsa verde with the heavy cream and Monterey Jack cheese. Add the shredded chicken, then season with salt and toss to coat.
6. Make the enchiladas: Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of the warm salsa verde on the bottom in an even layer.
7. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Fry 1 tortilla at a time, flipping once until pliable, 5 to 10 seconds.
8. Using tongs, remove the tortilla and allow the excess oil to drip off before dipping the tortilla into the warm salsa verde. Fill the tortilla with 2 tablespoons of the chicken filling. Roll the tortilla into a cylinder and transfer it to the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Pour the remaining salsa verde over the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
9. While the enchiladas are baking, in a small bowl, combine the red onions and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and allow to macerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
10. Remove the enchiladas and top with the Cotija cheese, crema, cilantro, radishes and the pickled red onions. Serve warm.
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