I’ve been thinking about making these enchiladas for months. Correction, I just looked at the issue of Saveur from whence this recipe came and it was the August/September 2012 issue. So I’ve been dreaming of these enchiladas for a year. I saw their picture in the magazine and knew I had to eat them. When we discovered a few weeks ago that there was indeed a latino market in our neighborhood (I cannot explain why this discovery took three years), my dream was realized.
Enchiladas suizas are a specialty originally served in a Mexico City department store called Sanborns. Their recipe is apparently the best and while there are stateside renditions, those supposedly pale in comparison. Chicken-filled tortillas blanketed in a creamy tomatillo salsa, topped with salty, melted cheese. Ya, I can see how those would win an enchilada contest.
And so I made them. And they are indeed amazing. They make all the other enchiladas feel sad and inferior with their spicy, tangy, creamy, cheesy majesty. Now every time I have enchiladas, I will wish they were these enchiladas. If that doesn’t convince you to make them, you cannot be saved.
Enchiladas Suizas, adapted from Saveur Magazine, Aug/Sept 2012
2 lbs tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
2 serrano chilis, stemmed
2 poblano chilis
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
kosher salt, fresh black pepper
8 corn or flour tortillas
3 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken
1 1/2 cups grated queso Oaxaca (or mozzarella)
The first question is, do you have shredded chicken sitting in your fridge? You do, you lucky duck. You don’t, no problem. Heat your oven to 425° F. In a small baking dish, bake four boneless, skinless chicken thighs for about 20 minutes, until the internal temperature is 165°. Take them out of the oven, let them cool and chop or shred with a fork, depending on your preference.
Arrange your oven rack to be four inches from your broiler and heat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Broil tomatillos, serranos and poblanos, until blackened, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Let cool for about 10 minutes and discard any skins. I did a half-hearted job of removing the skins and it turned out just fine. Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and chop into rough chunks. Transfer tomatillos, serranos and poblanos to a blender or food processor. Add the cilantro, cumin, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Plus to combine. Add the sour cream and whizz until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Season with more salt and pepper.
To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with about 1 cup of the sauce. In a large bowl, combine chicken with 1 cup of the sauce. Toss to coat all the chicken. Grate the queso Oaxaca. If using corn tortillas, you’ll need to fry them for a minute or two in some vegetable oil so that they are pliable enough to roll into tubes. If you’re a gringa and have an undying love for flour tortillas, you’re good to go.
Divide sauced chicken evenly among the tortillas. Sprinkle with a little bit of cheese and add to the sauce-coated pan. After you’ve rolled all the enchiladas, cover the dish with the rest of sauce and sprinkle with a healthy dose of cheese.
Heat your oven to 375° F. Bake enchiladas until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 25 minutes. Take care not to bake the enchiladas too long, you don’t want that luscious sauce to evaporate. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes. Serve with plenty of sauce, crema and the salsas of your choice.
Pico de Gallo
1 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 – 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, diced (depending on how spicy the pepper)
2 – 3 limes, juiced
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Season with salt.
Roasted Corn Salsa
2 ears of corn, roasted over a gas stove, broiled or grilled
1/2 red onion, diced
1 – 2 limes, juiced
Roast your ears of corn over a gas flame, until they are browned in parts, but still uncooked in others. Cut the corn off the cob. Combine in a medium bowl with the red onion and lime juice. Season with salt.
Quick and Easy Black Beans
2 cans black beans
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
ancho chili powder
In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, saute the onion until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute more. Add the cans of black beans and their juice. Reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Add a good pinch of ancho chili powder. Ancho chili powder is great in this recipe. It adds smokiness and depth, and because black beans have such a mild flavor, the ancho is able to really shine. Simmer until about half of the liquid has evaporated. Serve topped with crema.