I don’t make a whole lot of Mexican food at home…mostly because I just find it just way too darn good at restaurants.
Now, I do make some tasty fish tacos with pico de gallo, homemade fajitas with steak or chicken and some really good breakfast burritos. But, for the most part, I get my Mexican food cravings satisfied outside of my kitchen. Plus, it’s usually difficult to make Mexican food Dustin will want to eat (he’s really a “meat-and-cheese-only-on-my-burrito” kinda guy).
I like the auténtico type stuff to be made for me by the experts — like chiles rellenos, carne asada, chili verde, chilequiles, machaca, juevos rancheros and all those yummy things. Ok, now I need to go out and get me every one of those dishes I just mentioned! **stomach growling**
I’ve actually never been a big fan of enchiladas at Mexican restaurants….probably because I’m already stuffing my face with all those other types of dishes. I find most places add way too much cheese to their enchiladas. I know, I know…and the problem with that is….? True: cheese (like bacon, sour cream, chocolate and guacamole — but, not together — eww), does tend to make everything better. But, I wanted to make an enchilada recipe at home that had more meat. I suppose Dustin has trained me well.
So, I started to make my own shredded chicken enchiladas at home. Full disclosure: I use store-bought enchilada sauce. Can you still love me? I actually tried making it on my own from scratch, but the final result didn’t seem worth the hassle of dirtying all those dishes and ‘cuz I can be lazy. Maybe, one day, I will try it again, but I really like how these enchiladas turn out — pre-made sauce and all.
I have actually made this shredded chicken enchiladas recipe often for my Personal Chef business, as it freezes very well and is pretty simple to make.
The only thing I haven’t been able to perfect with this recipe is that the darn tortillas have a tendency to fall apart on me. I have tried all types of quality (and non-quality) tortillas, yet they don’t withstand very well once they get filled and covered with sauce. They certainly taste yummy, which is ultimately what matters in my book, but it would be nice to solve this dilemma. So, any suggestions are, as always, welcomed.
Shredded Chicken Enchiladas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (1 1/2 cups) enchilada sauce (I use Mild)
ground black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, divided
12 6-inch corn tortillas
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Add the minced garlic to the enchilada sauce in a deep skillet and heat to boiling. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and ground black pepper over the chicken breasts and then nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce, set aside and let both the chicken and the sauce cool.
Using two forks, shred the chicken breasts by holding one fork steady and slowly scraping the other fork, prongs faced backwards, away from the other fork (see picture above). Transfer the shredded chicken to a large bowl. Add half the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup each of the Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses and the 1/2 cup of cilantro to the shredded chicken. Stir to combine.
Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwave on high for 20-30 seconds until pliable and warm. Using cooking spray (if desired), oil a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture along the center of the tortilla. Gently, but firmly, roll the tortilla around the filling and place into the baking dish, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Lightly spray the tortillas with cooking spray (or brush lightly with olive oil). This will help the tortillas turn golden in the oven and will also help keep them from cracking. Place baking dish in the oven, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to turn golden.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro. Lightly cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place into the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil after 20 minutes and bake, uncovered, for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
Remove form the oven and let stand 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
Feel free to add a dollop (or two!) of sour cream and some more chopped cilantro for a garnish if you’d like.