Despite growing up in Texas, I really don’t consider myself a Texan. Blame George W. Bush and ultra-conservatives for putting a bad taste in my mouth. Despite a small animosity towards the state for political reasons, Texas is still filled with great people and great food.
I went to college at a small liberal arts school (1200 students) called Austin College in Sherman, TX and there is a pretty large contingency of alumni in the DC area, especially from my graduating class. We get together every month for Happy Hours or some random activity and this month I hosted a potluck Texas dinner and Top Chef Texas watch party.
So far I have been unimpressed with this season of Top Chef. I didn’t like the way they started the season with the competition to get on the show and already on the first “real” episode, chefs were throwing each other under the bus. I also haven’t seen a stand out chef and most of the challenges have been so cliché (although I did like them featuring a quinceañera). This week’s episode featured every thing I dislike about Texas and Dallas–the wealthy, snobby “socialites” from Highland Park. There were groans and eye rolling throughout the episode from the AC/DC crew. I was also disappointed with the elimination of Chuy, the only Latino chef who was one of my early faves. But I slightly understand the elimination because overcooked salmon is pretty gross.
Back to the food. I knew I was going to make a recipe from Homesick Texan because it’s one of my favorite food blogs and the writer went to Austin College. She recently published her first cookbook, which is on my list for Santa this year. I settled on the sour cream enchilada recipe because enchiladas are always crowd pleasers, very Tex-mex, and the recipe uses tomatillos (one of my favorite things to eat). The gang brought side dishes to round out the deal.
The sour cream chicken enchiladas came out great. I made two batches: one with cilantro and one without because I don’t like the taste of cilantro. It tastes like soap and for years, I have been chastised for being a cilantro-hater. Thankfully, I am not alone according to New York Times. I followed the recipe almost exactly, with a few alterations like topping the enchiladas with tomatoes and parsley for the non-cilantro enchiladas.
Sour cream chicken enchiladas
For the filling:
Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 medium-sized onion, diced (about 3/4 of a cup)
For the sour cream sauce:
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Serrano chiles, diced
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of light sour cream
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
8 fresh tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
For the enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the chicken breasts on each side with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook the chicken breasts on each side for three minutes in a large skillet over medium heat. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. When the chicken is done, take the chicken out of the oven and let cool. Then shred with two forks.
Change oven setting to broil. Place tomatillos on the top rack and broil until soft and blacked, about 3-4 minutes each side. Return oven heat to 350 degrees.
While the chicken is baking, in a pot melt the butter. Throw in the diced Serrano chiles and cook until soft, about three minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook for one more minute. Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and whisking constantly cook until chicken broth has thickened. Stir in the sour cream, cumin, cayenne and cilantro. Remove from heat and add to blender with tomatillos. Blend until tomatillos are pureed.
Heat the canola oil in a skillet and cook the corn tortillas on each side a couple of minutes until soft. Wrap in a cloth to keep warm as you continue to cook all 12.
To assemble the enchiladas, pour one cup of the sour cream sauce in the bottom of a casserole pan. Take each corn tortilla and place in the middle 1/3 cup of shredded chicken, 1 teaspoon of diced onions and 1 tablespoon of cheese.
Roll the tortillas around the filling and place the rolled tortillas seam side down in the casserole dish. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese and bake for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.
Top with chopped cilantro.
Food for thought:
-I added chili powder to the chicken to provide more flavor.
-Next time, I will not cook the enchiladas on the stove because it just added an unnecessary step and time. I will probably warm them in the microwave for 20 seconds in a wet paper towel.
-I found that the sauce didn’t really thicken up after adding the chicken broth so next time I will probably eliminate the flour to remove the gluten.
-I also topped the enchiladas with extra Monterrey jack cheese.