As promised, an easy weeknight dinner for leftover chicken. Although I recommend using poached pulled chicken, any leftover chicken can be pulled or chopped and used in this. If you’re not a fan of mixing chicken and cheese (or are a vegetarian), the refried beans I make as a side dish are a great topping instead. Just substitute some beans wherever I use chicken.
I don’t make rolled enchiladas like most people. I make them flat and crunchy, almost like a sandwich, because the first place I had enchiladas was Maria’s in Santa Fe (wow, their website is terrible), and I don’t like change. I like the crunch that these have, and not needing to use a pound of Velveeta cheese substitute to drown all the other flavors in them. And those flavors are simple: sharp cheese (I used cheddar, but a pepper jack would be lovely), sweet corn tortillas, tender flavorful chicken, sweet and burning chile, cool soothing sour cream. That’s it. You could top them with lettuce and/or tomato for a bit of extra crunch and the benefits of vegetables, but I don’t think it really needs it.
Ingredients (makes 4 enchiladas, serves about 2. Which is weird, because in the restaurant I can only eat one. Oh well.)
1/2 pound pulled or chopped cooked chicken
4 ounces shredded cheese
8 corn tortillas
1-2 T vegetable oil, for frying tortillas
Sour cream to serve
New Mexican red chile (or chile or salsa of your choice) to serve
Heat the oil in a small skillet over high heat and fry the tortillas, one at a time, until crispy.
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange half the crispy tortillas on a cookie sheet. Top each tortilla with a handful of pulled chicken and a big pinch of shredded cheese.
Top that with another tortilla and a bit more cheese, and pop the whole lot in the oven for five to seven minutes to get the cheese molten and delicious. I like to serve these with tortilla chips (yes, chips on the side of my tortilla-based meal. What?) topped with refried black beans, which are insanely easy to make.
1 can of plain black or pinto beans, drained
2 T butter
1 oz grated cheese, plus more to garnish
Drain the beans, then mash them. There is an easy way and a hard way to do this. The easy way is to pulse them in the food processor for about 20 seconds. The hard way is to smash them in the cooking pot with the back of a spoon. Since I actually like having some whole or only partly mashed beans in mine, and I didn’t want to wash all five parts of the food processor, I went with the spoon.
Add the beans and butter to a small saucepan and heat over high to melt the butter. Reduce the heat to low and stir the butter in.
Add the shredded cheese and mix that in as it melts. Scoop the mixture onto a pile of tortilla chips and serve alongside enchiladas or any other New Mexican dish.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and a splash of chile. It’s simple. It’s fast. It’s appreciated by Mr. B, and crunchy and delicious for me!