The plan was to make enchiladas for dinner but I was out of enchilada spice mix and couldn’t face a trip to the shops. My youngest, who hates enchiladas, was out for dinner. Because of this I had promised them to my eldest, who loves them and she’d been looking forward to them all day. I had all the other ingredients in and a cupboard full of dried spices – it was time to make my own enchilada spice mix. Out came the cook books and on went the laptop. A small amount of research led me to believe that this would not be a hard task. I was right.
Now, I’m not against the odd bit of convenience, and no doubt my cupboards will one day hold a packet of Mexican spice mix again, but it was nice to eat something a little less predictable for dinner that night. The resulting sauce was really easy to make. I just opened a few spice jars instead of tearing the top off a packet, and the result was an easy, tasty, healthy meal.
One of the reasons this sauce is so quick and easy to make is that I use onion granules, not fresh onion. Onion granules are a recently new addition to my cupboard and, if you wish to, you can easily replace them with a fresh onion that you fry before adding the rest of the ingredients, but I’m going for speed and ease here and they certainly help with that.
One of the dangers when cooking chicken breast is that it dries out. However, the chicken in these enchiladas is so moist that it glistens as you pull it apart due to the fact that it is poached in the sauce. When shreds of this juicy chicken are mixed with the spicy sauce, generously covered with grated cheese, wrapped up tightly in a tortilla, and nestled in the baking dish next to each other, you know dinner is going to be good. Now all you have to do is pour over the remainder of the sauce, sprinkle over a little more cheese and pop them in the oven to let the heat do its bit.
To serve, all they need is a nice green salad.
Juicy Chicken Enchiladas
- 1 tablespoon flavourless oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons each of cumin, coriander, oregano, onion granules and paprika*
- 2 cloves garlic, (crushed)
- 500 g passata
- 1 tin tomatoes, (chopped)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste
- 450 g chicken breast
- 1 lime, (juice of)
- 8 flour or corn tortillas
- 100 g cheddar, (grated)
For the toppings
- 50 g cheddar, (grated)
- A small handful parsley finely chopped ((optional))
- Heat the oil on a low to medium heat in a large pan and add the garlic and spices. Fry for one minute, stirring. Add the passata, tinned tomatoes, sugar and seasoning and bring to a simmer. Add the whole chicken breasts then simmer, lid on, for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Once the chicken is cooked remove the meat to a plate and, using two forks, shred into bitesize pieces. Do not return to the pan.
- Add the juice of half a lime to the tomato sauce. Stir, taste and add more lime if you wish. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Take your oven dish and pour in a good ladle of the sauce spreading it round to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. Now fill each tortilla, one at a time, with a little of the shredded chicken and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll up and place into the baking dish. Once all the tortillas are filled and in the dish, pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle over the remaining 50g of cheese.
- Bake in the oven at 200°C for 15 minutes until bubbling and gorgeous. Top with the chopped parsley if desired. Serve.