Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

I love, love, love Mexican food. I had some left over grilled chicken and started thumbing through my cookbooks (the ones I wrote…I use them all the time to make dinner, don’t you?) I stopped on page 99 in Par Fork!, at the Tomatillo Salsa recipe from Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson. They serve this tangy sauce on Huevos Rancheros, but I thought it would be perfect for grilled chicken.

I’ll be honest, I’m not good at rolling corn tortillas for traditional enchiladas, so I decided to make them in the New Mexican style — just stacked on top of each other with layers of chicken, cheese and sauce in between.

I wanted this to be a little more healthy than traditional enchiladas, so I didn’t use any oil on the tortillas and used the cheese sparingly.

The sauce calls for roasting the jalapeno, so I decided to just roast, or in this case, grill everything else, too — the tomatillos, the onions and the zucchini. Why not, since my left over chicken was already grilled? If you’re going to fire up the grill, you might as well multitask.

You can prep all of this (the grilling, making the sauce) a day ahead of time, so when it comes time to assemble and heat, you can have dinner in less than 30 minutes.

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas
with Roasted Tomatillo & Jalapeno Sauce

4 servings

For the Roasted Tomatillo Sauce
1 1/4 pounds tomatillos
1 jalapeno
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the Enchiladas
12 corn tortillas
1 pound grilled chicken, diced
2 medium grilled zucchini, diced
1 large grilled or sautéed onion
2 cups shredded cheddar (or Mexican blend) cheese
Mexican crema or sour cream (optional)
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomatoes

Make the sauce

1. Grill the tomatillos and jalapeno over medium heat (either outdoors on the grill or on a pepper roaster set over your stovetop burner) until the tomatillos skins are mostly black and the pepper is black all over. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Remove the skin from the pepper, and roughly chop the pepper and tomatillos and place in a food processor.

3. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Scoop out the flesh and add to the food processor. Top with the cilantro and lime juice.

4. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and pulse until the mixture is mostly pureed but some visible chunks of tomatillo remain. Taste and season if necessary.

Make the enchiladas
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.

2. Place 4 tortillas on the baking sheet.

3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce on each tortilla all the way to the edge.

4. Top each tortilla with a small handful of chicken, zucchini and onions. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of cheese (and Mexican crema or sour cream if using).

5. Place another tortilla on top of each of the four tortillas and repeat steps 3 & 4 — the sauce, the chicken, zucchini and onions, then the cheese and crema.

6. Top with another corn tortilla and any left over ingredients. Do a final sprinkle of cheese and then place in the oven until heated through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Garnish with crema (or sour cream) and chopped fresh tomatoes.

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