Try a little something different with these chicken enchiladas, made completely from scratch.
I’ll take you through the entire process: making homemade flour tortillas, creating a traditional enchilada sauce, sauteing chicken and peppers, and then baking it all together.
This recipe also lends itself to making part or all ahead of time, and then simply baking the assembled dish. No more store bought enchilada kits for us! Now they are allergy safe for me, and homemade so our family can enjoy this meal together.
There are three components to making chicken enchiladas from scratch — tortillas, enchilada sauce and filling. You can work on these at the same time, prepare them one at a time, or even prepare them well in advance of your meal. Just be sure all are ready to assemble about a half hour before your dinner.
Homemade Soft Flour Tortillas
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add oil and water and stir to mix together thoroughly. Cover bowl with a cloth to keep dough from drying out.
Take around 1/3 cup of dough out at a time. Roll into a ball and place on lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten to around 1/8 inch thick.
Heat up pan or griddle to medium medium-high. (I use two so I can cook two tortillas at a time.) Place tortilla in center of ungreased pan. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes, flip over and cook for a minute on the other side. They should stay soft and flexible. As they are done, stack them on a plate, and cover with a clean cloth or foil to keep warm. Makes approximately 9 large or 12 small tortillas. I like to make larger tortillas for the chicken enchiladas than I make for regular tacos, so they can hold more filling.
Zesty Enchilada Sauce
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder
6 ounce can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
First make a roux by heating oil in a heavy saucepan or skillet over high heat, then lowering to medium low and whisking in flour. After whisking for about 2 minutes, you should start to see tiny bubbles forming and the color darkening. Add the chili powder and continue to whisk until fully mixed.
Slowly pour in the chicken broth, turning heat back up to medium. Add tomato paste, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder and salt, stirring until smooth. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Sauce can be used right away or stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Make sure to get the rice cooking as well. Pour 2 cups water and one cup long grain brown rice into a saucepan. Stir and cover, bringing to a boil on high heat. Lower to medium and simmer for around 35 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Filling
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (Colby Jack, cheddar, Monterey Jack)
2 cups cooked brown rice (see note above)
In a heavy skillet, heat oil on medium high, then add chopped onion and bell pepper.
When onions are translucent, add cut up chicken and cook on medium until browned.
Add water and spices, cover and let simmer about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Putting it All Together
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour a thin layer of Enchilada Sauce in the bottom of the pan.
For each enchilada, lay out a tortilla, spoon in rice, chicken mixture and a sprinkle of grated cheese (I like a mixture of Colby Jack and very sharp cheddar). Roll up tortilla, and lay in baking dish with the seam down.
Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Top with a layer of grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake in the center of oven for 15 minutes, until they are hot throughout and the cheese is melted.
These are wonderful served right away, as well as warmed up the following day. You can substitute store bought tortillas or sauce to save time, but I find making them from scratch makes it easier to customize to your taste (and makes them allergy safe for me).