I’m having serious writers block today. I have so many ideas and thoughts fluttering about in my head like little, tiny sparrows, hovering just out of my reach. Not that I particularly love that analogy, I’m actually weirdly terrified of birds. I think it might be their tiny, beady eyes and the fact that you never really know if they’re looking at you or not.
If I had some pictures to share, you would be reading and feasting your eyes on Puerto Vallarta glory right now. I suppose without the pictures, there will be more reading than eye-feasting. It really was an incredible trip. We quickly fell into an easy vacation routine, one that required no alarm clocks, watches or advance planning. Every morning we read on our balcony, then sat by the pool and eventually moseyed into town for dinner and sightseeing. (I had to google moseyed. It seemed to go against every grammatical fiber in my body.) There was a long boardwalk along the public beach filled with stands, street food, restaurants and bars. We caught several spectacular sunsets – the sun basically shimmers and melts into the ocean and we danced along the sideline of the local Mardi Gras parade. It should come as no surprise that we ate Mexican food for every meal; awesome, authentic Mexican food. My only complaint was that apparently “traditional Mexican cooking” doesn’t include much cheese. BUT it all included lots of peppers, so I was very happy about that.
And then, when we got home, I decided to make Chicken Enchiladas, with cheese. Because I really enjoy cheese with my Enchiladas, and when I’m calling the shots I can add anything I want. Especially cheese.
If that sounded a little petulant, I apologize.
Traditionally, enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, stuffed with a variety of fillings and topped with a chile sauce. I had flour tortillas, and that’s what I went with. I also decided to try to make and enchilada sauce without a tomato base because I like a stronger chile flavor. I am telling you right now it was a bad idea.
Chicken Enchiladas (for 2)
2 Large Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Montery Jack cheese
1 cup Cheddar cheese
Chopped jalapenos (to taste)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Taco seasoning (I used Chili powder, Garlic powder, Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Dried Minced Onion and a little cumin. I didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand but I do have a pretty well stocked spice cabinet)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the taco seasoning or your spice mix.
Pan fry chicken on medium low heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until no pink is left at chicken’s thickest part. The chicken will stay juicier if you don’t cut into it to check doneness until after the meat has rested. Chop, shred or slice chicken as desired. I thinly sliced mine.
I layered the ingredients in my enchiladas, but in hindsight, I would mix the chicken, sour cream, cheese, jalapenos and green onions and then use the mixture as a filling. Regardless of the method you use, reserve some of the cheese to top the enchiladas with later.
See what I was doing here? Layering things? This is one of those times I’m going to quote mothers everywhere and tell you to “do as I say, not as I do”. I think you will have a creamier product when the sour cream is evenly distributed.
Spread filling evenly among tortillas and roll up. I slightly folded in the ends of the tortilla, but loosely and not burrito style. Note: the tortillas are much easier to fold and work with if you microwave them for 30 seconds prior to handling.
Coat the bottom of a shallow baking dish with enchilada sauce. Place rolled enchiladas in dish, seam side down. Top with Enchilada sauce and cheese.
Top with remaning cheese and more enchilada sauce. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. If the cheese is not melting quickly, place under broiler for 1-2 minutes so you have a bubbly top without drying out the enchiladas.
Now here’s the thing about the enchilada sauce. I wanted so badly to make it without tomato sauce. Don’t ask me why, there is no rhyme or reason for why I chose to be stubborn about this. I made a roux with olive oil and flour, then added chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, a little cinnamon and chicken broth, then let simmer until thickened. I actually think it would have been good, but I found the cinnamon so overpowering I could barely eat it. So of course I tried to add ingredients in my kitchen to dilute the cinnamon and save the sauce. This “save” technique has worked for me one or two times out of… a hundred. I really don’t know why I continue to try. Of course I had no plain tomato sauce at home or I might be singing a different tune. The hunt for a good enchilada sauce recipe continues.