Chicken Enchilada Recipe with Tomatillo Sauce: Let the Kids Cook Monday!
Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce
Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce: Health Benefits
Tomatillos are packed with vitamin C, and contain antioxidants, niacin, and many other nutrients. This green berry grows encased in a papery husk, and is sometimes called a "ground cherry" or a "green tomato." The fruit actually belongs to the same family as the tomato, but bears little resemblance in flavor or appearance. Tomatillos have a citrus-like flavor and are very tangy.
Look in the produce aisle for fresh tomatillos - they are ripe if the husk is tight to the fruit and straw-colored. The outer calyx (or husk) must be removed before cooking the berries. Tomatillos are extremely expensive in our location (the upper midwest), so we grow our own in the summer time and can them. This makes cooking with the fruit rather simple, as I simply have to pour the can of tomatillos into the blender to make a sauce. For those who do not have a jar of canned tomatillos readily available, the fruits are simple to prepare. Simply peel off the outer husk, rinse in cold water to remove the sticky sap on the tomatillo's surface, and boil the tomatillos until they are slightly soft.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole Ingredients
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 pounds tomatillos
- 1 large bunch of cilantro (corriander)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 pack of corn tortillas
- 8 oz. package of Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon salt.
Note: Only adults should handle the jalapeño pepper, as the capsaicin in the pepper will stay on a child's hands and could burn their eyes or mouth. This recipe can be made without the jalapeño and will have the same flavor without the heat.
Kids Can Shred the Chicken
Step 1: Cook and Shred the Chicken
Cook the chicken breasts according to your favorite method - you can either bake them in the oven, or simply cook the chicken in boiling water. Ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked - the meat should have a temperature of at least 170°F on a meat thermometer.
Shred the chicken breasts, and place the shredded meat into a medium-sized bowl. I always have my children help with this part of the process: the chicken can be shredded with two forks or with fingers. Once the chicken is shredded, cover the bowl with saran wrap and place it in the fridge.
Making the Sauce and Chicken Filling (Photos)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Step 2: Make the Tomatillo Sauce
Tomatillos can be found in the produce section of the grocery store. They are green, and have a papery husk. The fruit will be sticky under the papery film.
- Remove the husks from 2 pounds of tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until they are slightly soft (they may begin to turn yellow in the boiling water). Skim foam off the top of the water as it forms, as the foam is bitter.
- Strain the tomatillos and place half of them in a blender.
- Cut the stems off one large bunch of cilantro, and place half the cilantro leaves into the blender.
- Add 2 cloves of garlic to the blender.
- Add the jalapeno pepper to the blender (optional).
- Blend the ingredients above until a uniform, green sauce is obtained. Pour this sauce into a large skillet.
- Add the remainder of the tomatillos, garlic, and cilantro to the blender. Blend until smooth, and add this sauce to the skillet.
- Add 1 tablespoon salt to the sauce.
- Heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring gently..
Step 3: Make the Chicken Filling
- Add 1/3 cup sauce to the bowl containing the shredded chicken.
- Add 1/3 cup cheese to the bowl containing the shredded chicken.
- Stir the chicken mixture together and set aside.
Assembling the Enchilada CasseroleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Step 4: Assemble the Chicken Enchiladas and Bake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Using tongs, dredge a corn tortilla in the tomatillo sauce and place it on a plate.
- Add an ice-cream scoop sized amount of chicken filling on top of the soaked tortilla.
- Roll the tortilla around the chicken filling, and place the tortilla in a 9" x 13" glass baking dish.
- Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas/sauce/chicken filling until all of the chicken filling is used up.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas in the casserole dish.
- Sprinkle cheese on the top of the enchiladas.
- Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is melted.
Serve with Mexican rice and black beans for a delicious dinner!