White Enchilada Sauce

White Chicken Enchiladas

 
If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it;
blame yourself that you are not poet enough
to call forth it’s riches.
For the creative,
there is no poverty.
— Rainer Marie Rilke
 

Welcome back to A Common Kitchen this week everyone!

Lately I feel like I have been in a constant state of creativity. I am starting a new account that won’t be live for a while but I am so excited about it. It will be more of ‘lifestyle’ blog and it will be full of beautiful photos that I create. It will take a while for me to have it at a place that I feel is good to share it but when I do, I know I will be extremely proud of it.

Another exciting thing that I am working on is food photography for local restaurants! I am hoping that this will lead to more opportunities and another way to put my photography to use. I also just started a new job two weeks ago and although I have more to do than ever, I am so excited for all of the new things going on.

Now on to this weeks recipe. This recipe is one that is near and dear to me. I don’t have very many '“family time” memories from when I was a child. We didn’t spend a lot of time together but the memories I do have and that I look so fondly back on are ones where we had family dinners. My mother had a small list of recipes that she would make over and over again and my siblings and I loved all of them. I remember her version of Shepherds Pie (or "Hamburger Pie” as we liked to call it), Peas and Pepperoni (I will talk about this another time…), hardshell tacos, etc… all of these dishes remind me of those rare family dinners and I still make them from time to time.

This week I am sharing my recipe for White Chicken Enchiladas. This recipe is one that my mother made all of the time growing up. When she would make these White Chicken Enchiladas, she would use pre-cooked tortillas, shredded chicken, and make the sauce using a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup and a can of diced green chilis and that was basically it. So, I decided to re-invent these Enchiladas and make them better.

First, I knew I couldn’t use a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup to make the sauce because honestly, that’s stuff is not good! I decided I would make a homemade white enchilada sauce. I started out by making my own version of ‘cream of chicken soup’. You start by making a simple butter and flour roux, add in some onions, garlic, spices, chicken stock, and heavy cream and cook until it’s thickened. You then add in a can of diced green chilis and that’s it! The sauce is thick, creamy, and perfect for topping these chicken enchiladas.

These enchiladas are perfect for dinner because they are quite simple and easy to make and they are also delicious! They are creamy, slightly spicy from the green chilis, and extremely filling. They come together in about an hour and if you want to you can even split up the recipe and make the chicken filling the night before and finish up the rest the next day. You need to make these White Chicken Enchiladas for your next dinner, I promise you will love them! ;)

A couples notes on this recipe:

  1. Use raw tortillas: You can find these at most grocery stores now (I get mine at Costco!) and they are 9478563 times better than the already cooked tortillas. They taste fresher, they are 100x more moist, and they are just better in every possible way. You just cook them in a pan for 1-2 minutes and then use them like you would a regular tortilla. I HIGHLY recommend using these if you can get your hands on them.

  2. Use good quality chicken: I know it sounds weird but not all chicken is equal. After buying chicken from various grocery stores over the past few years I have finally nailed down what the best chicken is. Ready for it? “Organic Air-Chilled Chicken”. Now, I almost always buy Organic meat because I like knowing that it’s not pumped with antibiotics and hormones. The most important part though is the '“air-chilled”. Most chicken is frozen before it is sent to the grocery store and then defrosted. The thing is, when frozen, the proteins seize up and changes the structure of the meat, so to speak. Even after the chicken is defrosted it still stays tough and can never really go back. The solution? Air-Chilled Chicken! It is never frozen so you won’t have to worry about stringy and tough chicken! You can find this at a lot of grocery stores nowadays, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts. I highly recommend using air-chilled chicken whenever possible!


White Chicken Enchiladas


Makes 12 Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 Raw Tortillas (8 inches)

  • 2 Pounds Chicken Thighs or Breasts (I used thighs because they are more moist)

  • ¼ Cup Butter

  • ½ LargeOnion, finely chopped

  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced

  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin

  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Kosher Salt

  • ½ Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

  • ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour

  • 1 ¾ Cups Chicken Broth

  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream

  • 2 Cans (4.5 Ounces) Diced Green Chilis

  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella

  • Green onions, thinly sliced for garnish

  • Cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish

  • Jalapeńo, thinly sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook raw tortillas according to package directions. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

  2. Place chicken thighs (or breasts) into a large ziplock bag and close. Use a rolling pin or something similar to pound the chicken down to about a ¼ inch thickness.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Place a 3-4 chicken thighs on the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook another 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through (to 165℉). Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the chicken. Let the chicken cool down until it’s cool enough to handle. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

  4. In a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and cook until melted. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook until the onions and garlic are translucent. Add in the flour and mix to combine. Cook until the raw smell of the flour is gone— about 1.5 minutes.

  5. While whisking constantly, slowly add in the chicken broth. Cook the sauce until it’s thickened and can coat the back of a spoon— about 2-3 minutes. Add in the heavy cream and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the diced green chilis and mix to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside.

  6. In the bowl with the shredded chicken, add 1 cup of the white enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella, and one of the cans of the diced green chilis. Mix until everything is combined.

  7. Preheat oven to 425℉. Brush the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish with olive oil.

  8. Fill each tortilla with about ⅓ cup of the chicken filling. Roll the tortilla up and place in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

  9. Put in the oven and bake for 7 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Then, pour the remaining white enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and top the enchiladas with the remaining 1 cup shredded mozzarella and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is super melty and bubbling.

  10. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

  11. Top with the sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced jalapeños.

  12. Dish out enchiladas and serve with sour cream or any other condiments you prefer. Enjoy!