I have this amazing cookbook called Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America.
Contained in its nearly 900 pages is the life’s work of chef and restaurateur Maricel Presilla, the result of a 30 years long trip that took her to the kitchens of families all over Latin America. I have learned so much from these recipes, and occasionally make one my own. The book got the James Beard Award, for heaven’s sake.
This recipe is my take on a Cuban enchilado recipe in Gran Cocina Latina originally meant for seafood. Certainly this would be great with shrimp or fish – I used chicken in this example. The sauce is very much like making a Spanish sofrito but I use a few shortcuts and omit or add some ingredients. The seafood and sauce is eaten over rice but I thought it would make great enchiladas!
It is mildly spicy, very garlicky and deliciously savory. This sauce over steamed mussels would be absolutely divine.
But today, let’s make enchiladas!
By the way, you could certainly take the extra step of pureeing the sauce with a stick blender until smooth so it looks more like enchilada sauce.
- 1 pound chicken, cut into strips
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- juice of 1/4 lime
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles, mild or original
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups shredded colby or Mexican 4-cheese blend
- fresh cilantro and sour cream, for garnish
- 8-10 corn tortillas
In a zip-top bag, combine the chicken, 4 chopped garlic cloves, salt, and lime. Seal, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (I allowed 2 hours).
When the chicken is ready, take it out and clean it so no garlic is left. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until soft.
Add the rest of ingredients except cornstarch and add a little salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Measure cornstarch out one teaspoon at a time, adding slowly and whisking to combine.
Put chicken in the sauce mixture, and spoon more over the tops to cover. Cover pan and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning once.
Preheat your broiler on high.
Remove chicken to a plate and shred with 2 forks (if it doesn’t shred easily, it isn’t ready). Add a few tablespoons of the sauce to the shredded chicken and toss. Set aside.
Heat the stack of tortillas wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave until warm, 15-30 seconds.
One at a time, put about 1/4 cup chicken down the center of the tortilla; roll up and place seam-side down in a shallow baking dish. Repeat until all the filling is gone, pushing enchiladas snug up against each other as you go.
(Puree the sauce now, if desired.)
Now pour the pan’s contents over the enchiladas; top with shredded cheese.
Broil 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream, and maybe some Cholula hot sauce! Enjoy!