Chicken Enchiladas #Shelftember Style
These chicken enchiladas are so delicious and simple to make that we are definitely adding them as regular on our weekly family menu. But before I give you the recipe, I need to tell you a few things about Shelftember.
#Shelftember is a challenge started by Jordan Page in the US and I found out about it on the last day of August in an email from DoR, my favorite group of journalists and storytellers in Romania. Thanks Jo, Nicole and Catalina, you're such a source of inspiration. So the whole idea behind #shelftember is to reduce as much as possible your trips to the grocery store for the full month of September and cook with ingredients you have in the house. If you're like me, your pantry will be full of pasta, rice, flours, cans of stuff, beans and many other things you bought on impulse when you did grocery shopping on an empty stomach (please tell me I'm not alone...) Our freezer was equally stuffed with all sorts of half empty bags of peas, spinach, potatoes, chicken stock, fish, ice cream and meals I cooked and froze for those busy week days when we come home late and we need to put something on the table in 15 minutes. Plus there was also stuff in the fridge, so I would say September didn't really catch us on the wrong foot.
We started on Monday with a super simple pasta dish made with fish leftovers from the sushi we made in the weekend. We had spinach and eggs on Tuesday, oven toasts with creamy mushroom sauce and ham on Wednesday (thank you David), smoked salmon quiche with spinach, onion and celery on Thursday, tomato paprika soup and croque monsieur on Friday. The dessert was a combination of homemade strawberry ice cream that we still have in the freezer and vanilla pudding from grandma. Not too bad for a busy week like we had, with new beginnings for Sam (starting his first grade in school) and the usual hectic work schedules for us.
So back to the enchiladas, I had seen during the week this recipe on NYT Cooking and I couldn't resist, it had to be put on the list. But I didn't have all the ingredients so I kind of improvised with what we already had.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
4 tortilla wraps
2 boneless chicken breast (or 1 double)
800 g of tomato pulp (I used fresh, but canned pulp works just fine)
1 large onion
1 large bell pepper
1 chili pepper
100-150 g grated cheese (I used a mix of emmental, gouda and gruyère)
Lime juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 bunch of parsil or cilantro, chopped
2 spoons of cooking oil or butter for browning the chicken
salt and pepper
Optional: jalapeños (I used sliced ones from the jar)
Trim the chicken breast and wash your hands very well every time you handle chicken meat. Chicken doesn't need to be rinsed as this actually increases the chance to spread bacteria in the sink or on your other tools. Place a pan over medium heat and heat up the oil or butter. Add the chicken breast in one piece, and cook until it gets brown on all sides. It doesn't need to be completely done, but it's usually almost done if you cook it at medium to low heat until brown. You don't want to cut it into small pieces before cooking it, because it risks to get too dry.
Chop the onions, chili pepper and bell pepper in small cubes. In a pot, heat up a bit of oil or butter and add first the onions until they get a golden color. I like to cook them at low heat with a cover and let them sweat for 15-20 minutes. Sauces and stews taste so much better and get a lot more flavor from the onion this way. Add the chili and the bell pepper and let them simmer until you get the tomatoes ready.
If you use canned tomato pulp, this step is easy. Just open the cans :) If you use fresh tomatoes, you should first peel them. Boil some water in a big pot, cut a small cross on top of the tomatoes and let them sink in the boiling water for one minute or so, until the peel starts coming off. It's really easy to peel them like this. After you finished removing the peel, cut them in small cubes and add them to the onions and peppers. Let them cook for another 10 minutes.
When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the heat and add the chopped parsil, the lime juice and add salt to taste. Shred the chicken breast into thin slices. Get the tortillas and an oven resistant bowl or tray.
Add a bit of sauce on the bottom of the oven bowl. Then take one tortilla wrap, layer the shredded chicken, then the sauce, then the grated cheese, fold the sides to close the wrap and form into a roll. You should be able to make 4 enchiladas. Keep some sauce and cheese to add on top of the enchiladas and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 190 degrees. Serve with extra jalapeños and a green salad. Buen provecho!