Green Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese (Enchiladas Verdes)
Start to finish: 45 minutes | Servings: 4
To make the filling for these enchiladas, use leftover roasted or grilled chicken or meat from a store-bought rotisserie bird. You also can poach your own chicken. To do so, place 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, cover with water or chicken broth, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook until the thickest part of the meat registers 160°F, about 20 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the liquid until just warm to the touch, then finely chop the meat. Our homemade green chili and tomatillo sauce is especially good here, but any bottled hot sauce that’s not too vinegary (such as Tapatío or Cholula) will work. Chopped white onion and sour cream or Mexican crema are great garnishes.
Don’t skip the step of brushing the tortillas with oil and briefly warming them in the oven. If the tortillas are filled and rolled straight from the package, they will crack and tear. But take care not to overheat them, which will dry them out and make them too brittle to roll.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 medium poblano chilies (about 12 ounces), stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked, cored and chopped
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 1⁄2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (see note)
- 6 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 1⁄2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce (see note)
- Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
- Lime wedges, to serve
Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large pot over medium-high, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, the poblanos, tomatillos, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well-browned and beginning to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the cilantro and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish; set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, cheese, hot sauce, 11⁄2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
Brush both sides of the tortillas with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet (it’s fine to overlap them slightly). Cover tightly with foil and warm in the oven just until soft and pliable, about 3 minutes.
Uncover the tortillas; reserve the foil. Lay the tortillas out on a large cutting board or clean counter. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the tortillas (about 3 heaping tablespoons each), arranging and pressing the filling in a line along the bottom edge of each tortilla.
Working one at a time, roll up the tortillas to enclose the filling and place seam side down in a tight row down the center of the prepared baking dish. Spoon 1⁄2 cup of the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover tightly with the reserved foil and bake until the cheese begins to melt out of the ends, about 15 minutes.
Uncover and spread 1⁄2 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Re-cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges and the remaining sauce.
Molletes with Pico de Gallo
Start to finish: 15 minutes | Servings: 4
Mexican molletes are not unlike Italian bruschetti, but the bread is topped with refried beans and cheese, then toasted until the cheese is melted and browned. They make a great breakfast, light lunch or midday snack. In Mexico, the bread of choice typically is soft-crumbed, thin- crusted rolls called bolillos that are split open before they’re topped. We opted for 1⁄2- inch-thick slices of supermarket bakery bread with a soft crumb; look for a loaf that measures about 10-by-5 inches and weighs about 1 pound. Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa) adds color and fresh flavor to the molletes, so we consider it a necessary embellishment; sliced avocado and pickled jalapeños are delicious, but optional.
Don’t walk away from the bread as it broils. Broilers vary in heat output, so keep a close eye on the slices to make sure they don’t scorch.
- Eight 1⁄2-inch-thick slices crusty bread (see note)
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cups black bean puree
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Pico de gallo (see recipe on next page) to serve
- Sliced avocado, to serve (optional)
- Pickled sliced jalapeños, to serve (optional)
Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in a single layer on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until the bread is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip each slice and broil until the second sides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the broiler.
Flip each slice once again. Spread 1⁄4 cup bean puree on each slice, then top each with some of the cheese (about 5 tablespoons each), dividing it evenly. Broil until the cheese is melted and begins to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, then transfer to a platter. Serve with pico de gallo, sliced avocado (if using) and pickled jalapeños (if using).
Pico de Gallo
Start to finish: 30 minutes | Makes about 2 cups
Pico de gallo is a bright, fresh tomato salsa. We use grape or cherry tomatoes because they tend to be dependably sweet and flavorful even when regular tomatoes are dull, mealy and out of season. For a spicier salsa, leave the seeds in the jalapeño.
Don’t make the pico de gallo too far ahead. Even after the tomatoes are transferred to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon, they will continue to release liquid and their texture will soften.
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1⁄4 small red onion, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1⁄4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1⁄2 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chili, vinegar, oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a serving bowl, letting the liquid drip away. Taste and season with salt.
PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES