Ahhh, stacked enchilada....My mom used to make us a version of this dish often growing up. Sure, mom's was a bit more simple and easy to assemble, but she was serving to kids! I have fond memories of mom's stacked enchiladas so I was eager to try this recipe and see if it could come close to the version mom used to make.
First, a word of caution about this recipe...one learned from expereince. Buy your chiles and tomatillos as close to the time you'll use them as possible. They go south (ie. bad!) pretty fast. I had to re-purchase both TWICE! UGH...not fun, and certainly added to the expense of this rather inexpensive meal.
Roasting the chiles was fairly easy. Since I do not have a gas oven nor a barbeque of any sorts (remember, I use the George Foreman Grill!), I chose to roast them under the broiler. After I got the peppers covered in oil I popped them in the oven. They popped and sputtered and charred up nicely. I turned them a few times and made sure they were soft. I had the bowl with plastic wrap ready so that they could (essentially) steam away while they cooled. They were all done at different times, so it was a bit laborious because I had to keep checking on them (not a put it in and walk-away type activity).
Once the chiles were roasting, I decided to start the tomatillos. I boiled mine for about 10-12 minutes until they split and looked soft. Again, they weren't all done at the same time so I just stirred and dunked as needed until they were all done. I transferred them directly to the food processor when they were done and then gave them a quick whirl.
The chiles cooled enough that I could work with them by the time the tomatillos were done. I made quick work of taking off the skin and removing the seeds. Instead of mincing them like suggested, I just popped them into the same food processor and gave them a whirl....minced...super fine! HA!
The sauce never really did thicken up for me...but I figured it was probably something I had done wrong and just kept going...hoping it would still taste good and possibly thicken once in the oven.
I moved on to the chicken. I used my grill pan and seasoned the chicken with McCormick's Grill Mates Mesquite Seasoning. I shred it once it had rested for a bit and then got on with the tortillas and stacking process.
My mom used to pour a bit of oil into a small pan and basically dunk the tortillas in the hot oil, flip and then remove to paper towels. I used the same process since it seemed odd to have to keep adding oil to the pan.
Once I had the tortillas done, I started stacking on a cookie sheet. This step seemed unnecessary to me at first. All the ingredients were cooked, why bother baking?! But, in the spirit of the challenge, I went with it. I could have used a bit more of the sauce on the bottom of the pan (my finished product stuck a bit). I also LOVE cheese, so could have used more of that too. I got them all assembled and popped it into the oven.
When it came out, I must say that it looked really good. I was excited to try it and dig into what would now be lunch. After taking the glamour shots (below), I dug in. They were good! I could have used a bit more heat (spice), but I know that it's a personal preference and I didn't add any hot sauce during the process (worried it would turn out TOO spicy). Would I make this again...I may, but I must admit...mom's was still tastier for me, and much easier. I'll post both recipes, you decide.
Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada
The Recipe: Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada
1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams - roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. Other green chiles (NOT bell peppers) could probably be substituted but be conscious of heat and size!)
7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams - peel, remove stems
4 cups Chicken broth (32 ounces/920 grams)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional
2 Boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional
Roasting Fresh Chiles
1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.
5. DO NOT RINSE!
Green Chile Sauce
1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.
Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas
1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.
Mom's Stacked Beef Enchiladas
1 lb hamburger meat
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can red enchilada sauce
Vegetable oil (or similar, neutral flavored oil)
Cheese, shredded (Mom normally used mild cheddar)
Onions, chopped finely
Other toppings of your choice such as jalepenos or hot sauce.
Brown the hamburger meat, drain. Add taco seasoning mix (dry) and mix well.
Heat the enchilada sauce in a shallow skillet. Heat the refried beans in a bowl/pan.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
Working quickly, Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan of oil and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most). Immediately transfer to the enchildada sauce, coat with sauce. Once coated, place on the plate you will serve the enchilada on. Smear the base tortilla with a dollop of refried beans and sprinkle with a spoonful of meat. Repeat with an additonal tortilla in the sauce, place on top of bean and meat layer. Top with another layer of beans, meat and once final top tortilla coated in sauce. On top of the stack, add whatever toppings you prefer. Cheese will melt best if added first, then the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, etc. Enjoy!
Note: Mom would make them one at a time letting each person help with the layers and adding their own toppings to their liking. You can make as many or as few layers of bean/meat as you want.
Enjoy with Love,