Señor Verde’s Chicken Enchiladas

What do you do when you’ve arrived at home with an UNBELIEVABLE amount of affordable vegetables and a brand new edc pocket knife?  You get to work putting together a flavor-infused Mexican feast that serves six…  then you make sure you invite only one other person over to enjoy it with you!

Some of you out there know where I get my produce.  In the local area surrounding our production offices, the market I hit is famous not just for its jaw-droppingly low prices on everything from fresh produce, meats, alcohol and fresh breads, but for its war zone of a parking lot with a single entrance, a single exit, and a slew of locals who are either over the age of eighty or simply ignorant to common driver’s courtesy.  Plastic bags and runaway shopping carts dart around freely, as do at least three or four different languages and a healthy amount of honking and cursing.  It’s even worse inside.  It’s never anything but packed to the gills, and a mustering of patience is required along with extra-protective footwear and a heightened sense of self-preservation.

Yes, I very much have to be in a overwhelmingly composed, almost reverent state of mind to venture into the Super King Market at 2716 N. San Fernando Road in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.  I take a deep breath, purse my lips, tuck down my head, and concentrate on the finish line, much as I imagine I might if I were forced to walk across hot coals or experience a colonoscopy.

But the Super King produce section alone is worth the behavior modification, even if it exhausts me beyond the point of being able to hit any of the individual food aisles.  Only in my most recent visit did I actually find I had the energy after scooping up all my produce to venture over to the extensive dried peppers section, where I snapped up  bags of guajillo, pachillo and anso chile pods for future salsa making, then wander through the jarred vegetable aisles where I picked up black beans, pickled jalapenos, hot spicy olives, whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a 32 ounce jar of minced garlic.

And now you have an idea of what kind of meals you’ll be seeing here in coming weeks. But for now, it’s my super-simple homemade guacamole and salsa along with a pretty straighforward enchilada recipe for you to enjoy with people you love.  Not necessarily simple in terms of number of ingredients, but there are no real surprises on how I put them to work.  I won’t make this meal without the tomatillos, though.  They add a tanginess that cannot be missed, and they’re fun to work with.  I usually have about two to three hundred of them to choose from at the Super King.

I welcome any ingredient suggestions/additions.  If you don’t have your own favorite enchilada recipe, give this one a go.  The pics tell you all you need to know!

Señor Verde’s Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6

  • 6 large corn tortillas
  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 ripe avocados
  • 6-8 Roma tomatoes (one additional, diced and separated)
  • 5-6 tomatillos
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 1 15 ounce can hot Enchilada sauce
  • sour cream and tortilla chips
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, separated
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, separated
  • oil for frying

Peel the husks off the tomatillos and place them in a small pot of water.  Salt and bring to a boil for ten minutes.  Drain tomatillos from water, rinse in cold water to cool slightly, and place with the Roma tomatoes into a food processor.  Pulse to the desired consistency for your salsa.  Empty pulsed mixture into the storage bowl you’ll be using for your salsa.  Don’t bother rinsing out anything left behind in the food processor.  It’s going right back to work.

Place the onion, cilantro, jalapeno and Anaheim peppers into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Divide into two equal parts.  Add one part to your tomato mixture and combine thoroughly.  Set the other part aside.

In a separate bowl, place your peeled and cored avocados and use a potato masher to mash avocado meat to eliminate any and all large chunks.  Mix in the other half of your onion and pepper mixture and combine thoroughly, using a fork to mash any smaller lumps that may have escaped the potato masher.

Add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the salsa and one to the guacamole.  Do the same with the cumin, then salt and pepper to taste.  Mix thoroughly once again.  Taste the guacamole.  If it’s too hot for you, add a tablespoon of sour cream, mix and test again.  Repeat until you achieve the desired taste.  Squeeze the lime juice into the guacamole, give it another mix.  Cover and put the guac in the refrigerator.

Place chicken breasts in a well-oiled pan and cover in salsa until well covered.  You should have plenty of salsa leftover.  Place it in the refrigerator promptly.  The temperature of the tomatillos may mean it will take longer to cool.  Add one cup of water to the chicken.

Bring mixture a boil and then drop back the temperature, cover and allow to simmer for about a half an hour.  Check every ten minutes or so and add small amounts of water to keep chicken from drying out too much.  At the half-hour point, most of the water should be gone, and your chicken should be very tender.  Pull it to shreds with two forks.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat, and then fry the tortillas on 5 seconds per side until they are warm and easy to fold. Add more oil as required. Drain the tortillas on paper towels and keep them warm.

Divide the chicken, the diced tomato, and one cup of the Mexican shredded cheese between the tortillas. Roll them up and place in a greased baking pan, seam side down. Cover in Enchilada sauce.

Bake enchiladas for 20 minutes then top with the rest of the cheese and bake for a further 5 minutes. Use the green onions and any remaining cilantro to garnish them.  Serve with refried beans, Spanish rice, tortilla chips, your guacamole and the salsa, or serve the chips, guac and salsa with tequila shots and/or Tecate beer before dinner.

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4 thoughts on “Señor Verde’s Chicken Enchiladas

  • June 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    This is a great post. You have new RR knife? Is it a good one? Easy to handle?

  • June 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Theresa! I haven’t been cooking long enough to know the difference between a new Rachael Ray knife and an older version. Or did you just mean new to me? So far it’s awesome and I’ve been using it pretty much every day!

  • June 24, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Gary, not sure if this helps, same deal up here in Altadena, but if i have my druthers, I go either 3-4 pm weekday afternoons or before 9:30 on Sunday, before church lets out. A whole different experience. But if I go during the chaos times, I always see someone I know.

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