Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Green Chicken Enchiladas

I don't know about you guys, but I'm still feeling the need for green after the holidays. All the better when you can get some green into a favorite cold-weather comfort food, like enchiladas. Yeah... I know the photo below exudes a cheesy goodness that would appear to go straight to your love handles, but all the rest of the contents are good for you stuff. Spinach (lots), poblanos and chicken... oh my!

I beg you to try making your own enchilada sauce. A freshly prepared sauce transforms this dish from weird potluck food to a full-flavored wonder. And not to brag, but these are better that many of the enchiladas I've had at sub-par Mexican joints (Chava's... cough, cough).

Unless you have a wood-fired oven in your home, you'll want to crank up the broiler to char your poblanos. They'll take on a smokey flavor and the skins will pop right off.

Those char-delicious-cooked poblanos will join up with fresh spinach in the blender to be the base of your enchilada sauce. 

You'll add in a warmed cream (or in this case, fat free milk) sauce and blend away. Don't forget to pop the top in order for steam to escape. Otherwise you'll blow the top and spend the next three days finding dried enchilada sauce all over your house. Science is a bitch. 

Admire your gorgeous green enchilada sauce before you get to stuffing those bad boys. So pretty, but wait you're hungry. Shredded chicken time. You can roast yourself or use leftover grilled chicken. Rotisserie chicken would totally work too. 

As promised, there's lots of green stuff. Chopped spinach adds more bulk and goodness to the enchilada filling.

Roll it all up in corn tortillas and arrange in a baking dish before pouring over that gorgeous, not-from-a-can sauce. No photoshop here, it's really that green. Photosynthesis.

Baked with cheese to finish the job. Dig in with less guilt knowing you're getting your greens.

Green Chicken Enchiladas
2 poblano peppers
10 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 cups fat free milk
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups shredded chicken
12 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese
Chopped red onion and cilantro, for garnish

Heat broiler to high. Place poblanos on a sheet pan and put a few inches under the broiler. Watch closely and cook until skins turn black, then rotate. Once all sides are blackened, remove from oven. Place in a bowl and cover with a dish towel to cool. Use clean hands to remove blackened skins. Tear open and remove seeds and stem, discard. Roughly chop and put into jar of blender, along with one cup of chopped spinach.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan warm milk and chicken stock. In a separate large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant. Sprinkle flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk mixture, whisking briskly to ensure there are no clumps. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and put in the oven for 5 minutes. While tortillas warm, add half the warm sauce to the blender jar and cover. Remove vent in the lid and blend until smooth. Pour back into saucepan and stir in salt.

Line a 13x9 baking dish with aluminum foil and pour in one cup of sauce. Toss chicken in a bit of sauce and then stuff into tortillas with chopped spinach. Arrange tortillas tightly in baking dish and pour over remaining sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese melts and slightly browns. Serve hot and garnish with cilantro and red onions. Enjoy!

*This recipe freezes beautifully, so I usually double up and make an extra pan.

Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless

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