I like when I can make dinner out of things that I already have lying around. Well, maybe not lying around, but I did not have to buy anything specific for this meal except for tortillas!
A couple of weeks ago I made matzo ball soup and bought a family pack of bone-in chicken breast halves to do so but only used two of the five pieces (I already had stock for that from a rotisserie chicken carcass and just needed the meat) so the other three went into the freezer for some future meal. Then, when grocery shopping for the week, I bought lots of shredded cheese and mushrooms because of a sale. Combined with my pantry staples, I was good to go.
This is only the second time I have poached chicken. It always seemed like a silly way to cook it to me – the fat makes things delicious! Even grilling, fat-free is better than boiling for flavor. I now see a reason for poaching chicken. The meat is moist and can be shredded. Also, you get broth as a byproduct, which can be great. I would probably not poach chicken just to eat but I think it was the right way to go for enchiladas.
As always, I did not actually measure while making this but I am trying to get the amounts close to right. Not that anybody will read this but for my future self or whatever.
- 3 split chicken breast halves
- 4 onions
- 1 head garlic
- bay leaf
- 1 T peppercorns
- 1 t cumin
- 1 t oregano
- 1 T thyme
- 1 t chili powder
- 12 oz package mushrooms
- 4 T butter
- 1 can red enchilada sauce
- 1 can / box tomato sauce (or another can of enchilada sauce if you are not a wuss / like spicy enchiladas)
- 10 soft taco size flour tortillas (I actually only used 9)
- 3 cups shredded cheese
Not Really Directions
- Start by putting the chicken breasts (bone in, skin on) into a big pan with two quartered onions (skin on), half a head of garlic (skin on, smashed), the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, chili powder, and some salt. Cover with water and turn burner to high until the water starts to boil.
- Cover pan, turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes then check internal temperature of chicken with instant read thermometer. If it has reached 165° F, remove the chicken to a plate and let cool until it can be handled. (If not, keep simmering until it is done.) Leave the liquid in the pan for now.
- Shred chicken, separating the bones and skin but reserving them.
- Return the reject chicken bits to the pan and turn the heat back on (unless you forgot to turn it off in the first place) and simmer, uncovered until the liquid has reduced to about half. This will give you concentrated, delicious bone broth. If you end up with a lot, you can save it for chicken tortilla soup or something but since I did not have a lot, I used it all for the enchiladas.
- Wash the mushrooms and slice them. Also slice up the remaining two onions and dice the rest of the garlic. This time, you can throw out the skins.
- Strain the bone broth and set aside. Throw out the gross bits that have had all their flavor sucked out at this point. I put the broth into the fridge to help solidify the fat for easy separation later. It did not work super well but neither did it hurt.
- On medium heat, melt 2 T butter in a pan (I used the same pan after cleaning it out to get rid of any bone shards) and add the sliced mushrooms along with the oregano. Cook until the liquid has released and is evaporating.
- Make a space in the center and add 1 1/2 T butter, the sliced onions, and the cumin. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are starting to get a caramel color, which happens after all the liquid has evaporated.
- Make a space in the center and add the last 1/2 T butter along with the garlic. Sauté for a minute or two. Do not let the garlic burn!
- Deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of the reserved broth. (Remove the fat on top of the broth first if you can) and cook until liquid disappears.
- Add 1 cup of broth and 2 T of enchilada sauce, cook until liquid is reduced and not runny anymore. Turn off the heat.
- Add shredded chicken and stir to combine until the sauce coats it all. Add a little more sauce and/or broth if necessary to fully coat all of the chicken.
- Add 1 3/4 cups shredded cheese to the chicken mixture and fold in.
- Mix together remaining enchilada sauce, 2 T broth, and tomato sauce in a bowl.
- Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the sauce mix.
- Put 1/2 – 2/3 cup filling mixture into a tortilla and fold / roll it up like a burrito.
- Place filled tortilla into dish, seam side down.
- Repeat last 2 steps (or 3 steps for multiple dishes) until all tortillas and/or filling is used up. I thought I would use two dishes with 4 enchiladas in each of them but then I had filling left so I made a single enchilada in a tiny dish for a single serving.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over the filled tortillas.
- Cover them with the sauce mixture. (Divide it as necessary among multiple dishes.)
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 c cheese over the sauce.
- The enchiladas can be frozen or refrigerated at this point to be baked later if desired. Obviously, freezing lasts longer. That is what I did with the little one.
- When ready to eat: Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Eat! (with lime, salsa, sour cream, and refried beans, as desired)