Who doesn't love *homemade* enchiladas? Wherein *homemade* = I even made the damn sauce, oh yes, I did. Heh.
I'll be honest. The sauce was easy to make. And it was tasty. BUT - the meal overall would probably have been equally as good and definitely as well-received by my family if I had used a can of enchilada sauce. I'm sorry, we just do not have very refined pallets over here.
That said, this is basically a combination of two recipes, one for the sauce and one for the filling. This filling is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT in every way and, honestly, you're going to want to use it for enchiladas, nachos, burritos, tacos... I am even thinking I could stuff this into manicotti. This filling? Divine. If I do say so myself.
So without further ado, I present to you: Chicken Enchies with Sassy Sauce
For the Sauce: 1/4 cup veggie oil, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/8-1/4 cup California chili powder, 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, one cup of chicken broth, 1 teaspoon each of cumin and garlic. Salt to taste.
For the enchies: Two cups of diced roasted chicken, one box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained, a 4 ounce can of diced green chilies, one small onion (chopped), one bunch of green onions (chopped), one can of Rotel tomatoes, two tablespoons of veggie or olive oil, one bag of shredded cheese (I used the Mex Blend) and corn tortillas. Did you hear me? I said CORN, people, not flour.
Flour tortillas are MUCH easier to work with, but they turn your enchiladas into gooey burritos. Use the corn. Trust me. USE THE CORN.
I used half of a medium onion. Keep in mind, I am cooking for an 11-year-old who does not eat anything onion-ish, onion-like or onion-related. You could use an entire medium onion, diced, if you are not cooking for Carlie.
To make the sauce, you are basically making a roux base. But with oil instead of butter. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Use a skillet NOT A POT. Stir in the flour and chili powder incrementally, stirring constantly, until you have a paste. Stir stir stir stir stir stir stir.
When it is thick and pasty, gradually stir in the tomato sauce and cup of chicken broth. Add in the cumin and garlic powder. Stir stir stir until smooth. If you end up with too thick of a sauce, add a little water. Add salt to taste.
Keep your sauce on low heat while you prepare your filling, stirring occasionally.
Now for the filling. In another skillet or pan, heat two tablespoons of oil and brown the chopped onion and green onion. Cook until soft and then add in the diced chilies (drained) and the Rotel tomatoes (partially drained, but allow in a little bit of the liquid). Continue to cook. Add in two cups of shredded chicken and two cups of spinach. MAKE SURE YOU DRAIN THE BEJESSUS OUT OF YOUR SPINACH. I was literally wringing mine with my hands. After the box of frozen spinach was thawed and drained, I did not measure it, but I had about one handful of spinach.
Add the chicken and spinach to the onion and tomato combination, and stir in about 1/4 cup of your Sassy Sauce. Continue to cook until the spinach is warmed throughly. Since the onions and green onions were already cooked until soft, you are basically just getting everything warmed through to the same temperature now, because everything is already cooked (and therein lies the magic of the store-bought roasted chicken).
Your filling should be kind of dry-ish, not very liquidy, and should look like this:And now we put it all together...
Use about 1/4 cup of your Sassy Sauce to coat your casserole dish. It's just a nice coating to keep the tortillas from sticking to the dish. It doesn't have to be pretty.
Coat your corn tortillas in Sassy Sauce before rolling. I made my sauce in a skillet, so to coat the tortillas I just dipped each one into the skillet, dipping each side, and then laid it in the casserole dish. This step was kind of messy. Be not afraid of Sassy Sauce on your hands. It will wash off. Just do it. The dipping in the warmed sauce makes the corn tortillas more pliable and less likely to crack when you roll up the enchies. I did have a little bit of cracking along the edges of a few of mine, but not the ridiculous falling apart and breaking in half that I have had in the past, before I knew about the dip-in-warm-sauce trick. You're welcome.
Put a generous scoop of filling on the tortilla and then top with cheese. One of the mistakes I tend to make here is to put TOO MUCH filling and cheese, creating a big, fat, unrollable mess of deliciousness. So keep in mind that you will be rolling this into an enchilada when you put your filling on.
So at this point, I got distracted by a phone call, and while I continued to cook, I did not continue to photograph. Oops. But after topping the tortilla with filling and cheese, roll it up and place it seam-side down in the casserole dish. And repeat with your next tortilla. Until you have a pan full of deliciousness.
Top the rolled enchies with your remaining Sassy Sauce and remaining cheese. I did this. And then I stuck it in the oven. And after a few minutes I remembered that I wanted a picture, so I pulled it out of the oven and took this picture, which is why my cheese is already a little bit melty.
At this point, I got distracted by another phone call. I know. So there are no photos of the finished enchiladas being served on a plate with black beans and a salad. Also, I did not make any black beans or a salad. We were late for Carlie's dance class. So we ate enchiladas, just enchiladas, no side dishes. I know, I am the most awesome food blogger ever, right?
ISSUES WITH THIS RECIPE: I ended up with about double the amount of filling and half the amount of sauce, on a filling to sauce ratio. I used up all of the sauce, but had a bucket of filling leftover. So the next night, we had chicken nachos. And again? YUM.
Carlie - "These enchiladas have too much vegetables." That said, she went back for seconds and did not *pick* anything out, either time. The next night, when we had nachos, "This is much better on nachos, without all the vegetables." It was the same filling, with the same amount of "vegetables" in it. Also noteworthy, she did not comment on the spinach or the onion, which speaks volumes about how good this chicken filling was. Because if she caught a hint of spinach or onion, she would have been out of here.
Tim - "Excellent, 8.7 on a scale of 1-10. But not better than mine." For the record, Tim made enchiladas once, in 1997, with sauce from a can. I can't remember if they were good or not, because? 1997. Whatever, Tim.
Shana - I am in love with this filling, and will definitely use it again. And next time, I'll double the sauce recipe. If I had had more sauce, I could have made two pans of enchies and had one to put in the freezer.