As I sit down to type this post, a bright blue bandaid covers the tip of my left thumb. One of those 'fingertip' bandages that didn't exist when I was a kid in constant need of taping up, but has since been the brain child of someone wishing to specialize in bandages for different body parts. Have you ever used a fingertip bandage? On first inspection, it looks like an instructional video might be a requirement to work it. In the case of this particular first aid situation, we found that the bandages stick quite forcefully to themselves but not so well to the skin for which they are meant to protect. And then there's the color. Puts the entire smurf race to shame.
This bandage went onto said thumb this afternoon when I arrived home from work, having left early. Leaving early from work happened after an hour of trying to make the bleeding stop, paper towels stained with blood, hand held above the heart. There was a definite increase in expletive use. The f-bomb was dropped repeatedly, and the lord may need to change his name at this point, due to an overwhelming use of it in vain. All of this happened after I succeeded in cutting the tip of my thumb off with a chef's knife while prepping food for my coworkers.
Part of the nail is gone.
So this day has been stressful. What do I do when I'm stressed? The same thing that millions of other women living in the developed world do when emotions run high, patience is in short supply, and somebody might get roundhouse kicked Chuck Norris style if I don't get something edible in the next 35 seconds. I eat. A lot.
Today is the perfect kind of day for something rich, cheesy, spicy, comforting. I want food that's gonna flood my mouth with deliciousness and then fill my gut with calories, calories, calories! I want fat, people. I want to drown my sorrows in chicken and chili filled tortillas, wash my woes away with a thick, creamy sauce. Is that food smothered in pepper jack? Perfect. I'll just eat from the pan, thanks.
Enter white chicken enchiladas.
Initially, I was skeptical of the whole enchiladas with white sauce thing. Enchilada sauce is red, right? I've always made them with a tomato-based sauce and was hesitant to go the cream route. But I'm cooking for two again, and my sweetheart is a white sauce fan through and through. Turns out, she knows what she's talking about.
This recipe is killer in the summertime when peppers are in season, and the market has an abundance to choose from, but poblanos and Anaheim's are available in most grocery stores year round. You will definitely want to roast your peppers for maximum lip-smacking, peppery goodness.
Never roasted a pepper? So easy. Click here for my photo tutorial on the matter.
I prefer chicken thighs on the bone for my enchiladas because I think dark meat is more flavorful, and they're significantly easier on the bank account than the ever-popular boneless skinless breasts. But use whatever suits you.
Enjoy the comfort, friends. And don't feel like you have to cut your thumb off or have an emotional breakdown in order to consume these. They're just as tasty on the good days.
White Chicken Enchiladas
For the filling:
4 medium bone-in chicken thighs, fat trimmed
salt and pepper
4 large or 6 smaller chillis (poblano, Anaheim, or any other medium-hot peppers)
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove the seeds for less heat)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 C. grated cheese (pepper jack or white cheddar are delicious)
For the sauce:
2 T. butter
1/4 C. AP flour (I use sorghum to make this gluten free)
2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash of cayenne
salt and pepper
8 oz. sour cream (light or full-fat will work)
12 corn tortillas
1/2 C. additional shredded cheese
1/2 C. additional shredded cheese
cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Preparing the filling:
- Heat a large, heavy skillet (cast-iron works wonderfully) over medium-high and coat with cooking spray. Meanwhile, season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot enough to sizzle when the chicken touches it, arrange all 4 thighs in the pan, skin-side down. Allow the chicken to cook for about 10 minutes per side, or until the meat is no longer pink throughout. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool.
- Don't clean your skillet. The fat and juices left in there will be used to prepare the filling later.
- While the chicken is cooking, preheat your oven's broiler to roast the chili peppers. Click here for detailed instructions on how to roast peppers.
- Once the peppers are cool, peel, seed, and chop them, and set aside.
- Once the chicken thighs have cooled enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones (avoiding tendons and other chewy bits), chop into fairly small pieces, and set aside. Save the bones to make chicken stock if you're so inclined.
- Heat the skillet containing the chicken drippings over medium. Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until the onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and saute another couple of minutes. Stir in the chopped chicken and roughly 3/4 of the chopped, roasted peppers. Taste and season with more salt and/or cayenne if desired. Remove from heat.
Preparing the Sauce:
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the butter. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk until the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture (roux) is bubbling, about 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking constantly, until the roux is fully incorporated into the liquid. Turn the heat up to medium-high, while continuing to whisk. When the sauce begins just to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, keep whisking, and simmer until the sauce is thickened, another 5-10 minutes.
- Season sauce with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Stir in the sour cream and about 1/4 of the chopped, roasted peppers. Continue cooking and occasionally stirring the sauce while preparing the filling.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Wrap the tortillas loosely in damp paper towels, and microwave until hot and very pliable, about a minute.
- Spoon about 1/2-3/4 C. of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.
- Take a tortilla (careful, they're hot) and spoon about 1/4 C. of chicken mixture in a line down its center. Sprinkle some cheese over the filling, and wrap the tortilla into a cylinder shape, as tightly as possible, and place seam-side down in the baking dish.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling, arranging them snugly into the baking dish.
- Pour remaining sauce over top of enchiladas, coating them evenly. Top with another 1/2 C. shredded cheese.
- Cover pan with foil, slide carefully in the oven, and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5+ minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool several minutes, top with chopped cilantro and serve.