Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo-Lime Sauce
Tomatillos, cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice give this green enchilada sauce a fresh citrus flavor and light quality. It's a nice change from tomato-based enchilada sauce and works especially well with the pan-seared chicken breast filling.
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
- 3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (or farmer's cheese)
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 lbs tomatillos, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to a thickness of about 1/2-inch. Season them on both sides with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until lightly browned on the outside and just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a cutting board, halve each breast lengthwise and then cut crosswise into very thin slices. Set aside.
Return the pan to the stove over medium heat (no need to clean it) and begin making the sauce. Add the olive oil and onion and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jalapeños and garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant and pale gold in color, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken broth and tomatillos and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and puree with an immersion blender, or place in a conventional blender and blend until smooth.
To assemble the enchiladas, lay the tortillas on a flat surface. Spread about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese and a portion of chicken in the center of each tortilla. Fold the sides over the middle and place, seam side down in the prepared pan. You should have about 1/2 cup of cheese remaining to scatter over the sauced enchiladas before baking.
Spread the sauce evenly over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the sauce is bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, top the enchiladas with the queso fresco, green onions and cilantro. Return to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the queso fresco is melted.
Makes 6 servings (with leftovers)