ALLIE’S CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH SALSA VERDE

ALLIE’S CHICKEN ENCHILADAS WITH SALSA VERDE (for four to six)

My daughter, Allison, adores this recipe from Sam Sifton of the New York Times because it can be made with a purchased rotisserie chicken, jarred salsa and commercially made tortillas.

For the chicken (or use 1-1/4 pounds leftover or store bought rotisserie chicken):

2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, or a mixture

1 small white onion, cut in half

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the salsa verde:

1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters (use canned if you can’t find fresh)

1 small white onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 serrano chiles or more, to taste, seeds removed if you want it less spicy, stemmed and roughly chopped

4 to 5 tender stems of fresh cilantro, with leaves, roughly chopped

salt to taste

For the enchiladas:

½ cup neutral oil, like canola

12 yellow corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese

1 cup Mexican crema or use crème fraiche or sour cream

1 medium size white onion, peeled and chopped (optional)

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1.   Prepare the chicken:  Place chicken parts in a large saucepan with onion, garlic and salt and cover with water.  Heat pan over high heat until liquid comes to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove chicken and let cool, reserving stock for another use.  Using your fingers or two forks, shred meat from chicken and reserve, discarding skin and bones.  (Alternatively, shred meat from leftover or store bought chicken and set aside.)

2.   Meanwhile, heat oven to 375* and make the salsa verde: Combine tomatillos, onion, garlic, serranos and cilantro in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, adding water as needed to thin it out a little.  Season with salt to taste.

3.   Prepare the tortillas:  In a medium saute pan set over medium high heat, heat oil until it begins to shimmer.  Using tongs or a wide spatula, place a tortilla in the hot fat; it should start to bubble immediately.  Heat tortilla for about 10 seconds a side, until soft and lightly browned.  Remove tortilla and set on a rack set over a baking pan, or just on a baking pan if you don’t have a rack.  Repeat with remaining tortillas, working quickly.

4.   Assemble the enchiladas Use a ladle to put about ½ cup salsa verde in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan and spread it out a little.  Roll a few tablespoons of shredded chicken into each tortilla with a teaspoon or so of salsa verde and place it seam side down in the pan, nestling each against the last.  Ladle salsa verde over the top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with about half of the crumbled cheese.

5.   Transfer to oven and bake until sauce bubbles and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.  Dot with crema, sprinkle with remaining cheese and chopped onion, if using, then serve immediately.

from Sam Sifton, the New York Times

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