Red Chicken Enchiladas
This recipe is based on the red enchiladas typically found in Arizona, where Lynley grew up.
This recipe was originally created for A Series of Unfortunate Cooking Lessons, based on the book series by Lemony Snicket. If you are the type of person who enjoys delicious food and interesting conversation, I suggest you cook the recipes I've created for this this series rather than reading the books, which are filled with badly-prepared food and unpleasant dining companions.
Makes 12 enchiladas, which serves 4 as a main dish.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
3 cups cooked shredded chicken, well seasoned (plus a pinch of salt if not well seasoned)
1 1/2 cups Red Enchilada Sauce
About 1/2 cup flavorless oil such as canola (more if needed, depending on the size and shape of your pan)
12 corn tortillas (see note)
About 1 cup shredded mild, melting cheese. (Traditional Arizona presentation would call for a yellow cheese such as Colby, but Monterrey Jack works beautifully too.)
Optional (for Arizona-style presentation):
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1. Warm the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the onions. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken to the pan and toss with the onions to warm through and combine flavors. Taste the chicken and add a pinch of salt if needed. Turn off heat.
3. Warm the enchilada sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
4. Choose a small, shallow pan to warm the flavorless oil over medium-high heat. The oil should have a depth of 1/2-1 inch.
5. Test the oil for heat: when you dip the edge of a tortilla in the oil, it should sizzle and produce bubbles, but the oil should not smoke.
6. Check to be sure the oven rack is in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Choose a shallow casserole dish that will accommodate 12 rolled tortillas (ours is 9"x11"). Arrange your stovetop and countertop for a smooth workflow, so that you can easily do this:
First: Use tongs to briefly place each tortilla in the hot oil, carefully flip it once, and remove it to a plate. The tortillas should soften in the oil, but should not become at all crisp.
Second: Spoon some of the shredded chicken into the center of the tortilla.
Third: Ladle a small amount of enchilada sauce over the chicken.
Fourth: Roll up the tortilla with the chicken and sauce inside, and place it against one end of the casserole, edge down so that it stays rolled.
Fifth: Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
7. When all the tortillas have been rolled and are in the casserole dish, ladle the rest of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Spread the shredded cheese over the top.
8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until everything is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
9. Your Red Chicken Enchiladas are ready! For a traditional Arizona-style presentation, distribute the olives over the top, and serve with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes either on top or on the side.