Chicken Enchiladas with Chile-Garlic Sauce
For a long time, enchiladas were strictly a restaurant food in our family. Then I learned the secret of great enchiladas from a Mexican chef-instructor: the corn tortillas must be softened in hot oil and drained so they don't fall apart in the casserole. It was a revelation to me, and now I love to make enchiladas.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped roasted green chile
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola or other vegetable oil
1 dozen corn tortillas
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
2 cups shredded cheese, Monterey Jack or Cheddar, or a combination
Heat a heavy saucepan and add the 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, then add flour and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or so. Mix in the chile, pour in the stock, and add the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. It will thicken slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the tortillas, 1 at a time, in the oil for about 15 seconds each. Turn them over with tongs, then cook for another 15 seconds. Drain the prepared tortillas on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare a baking dish by coating it with cooking spray. With one hand, hold a tortilla. With the other hand, place a row of chicken (a scant 1/4 cup) in the center of the tortilla. Top with some shredded cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place it, seam-side down, in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling (reserving some of the shredded cheese for topping the enchiladas before baking them).
Pour the prepared garlic-chile sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.
The sauce keeps, refrigerated, for about 5 days, or you can freeze it for longer storage. You can prepare the casserole ahead of time, wrap well, and refrigerate or freeze it. Bring to room temperature, then bake as directed above.