Thursday, March 10, 2011

Leftover Chicken Enchiladas

Even when I'm not going to an office job and working in the traditional sense of the word, running two blogs, caring for the pups, house stuff and working on other passion projects tends to make for very full days.  Days where between photographing various different dishes, coming up with recipes and dealing with needy pups, the last thing I want to do is think about dinner.  I'm pretty certain everyone out there, no matter your situation feels that way, some more often than others. Since there are only 2 of us, many dishes that I do make leave us with leftovers and while I will often happily eat some of them for lunch I can't eat the same thing more than two days in a row, I just get too bored. In case it wasn't evident with 2 different food blogs, variety in my food is important to me.  I have friends who cook on the weekend and will eat the same thing almost every day for the week.  I know when working and doing all other kinds of extracurriculars that can be an easy and logical answer, but I just can't do that.  So regardless of whether I'm doing No ReEATS or not, I always go out of my way to reinvent any leftovers so we are eating different things.

Just over a week ago, I made this Portuguese Chicken.  It was packed with flavor and we had leftovers enough for at least one more dinner and a lunch or two. I thought it would translate well into a yummy panini or enchiladas.  When I posed it to the Boy, yes I do ask for his opinion on dinner every now and again, he surprisingly chose enchiladas.  I would have lost a TON of money on that one, he loves sandwiches, I mean really loves them.  Give him a good meaty sandwich and nice cold beer and he's good to go.  But no, like he was reading my mind he said, "Oh enchiladas sound good."  So I set about making up some corn tortillas.  I know I sounds crazy but I just couldn't bring myself to go to the store for one ingredient and they are actually ridiculously easy to make (if you buy Maseca and have a tortilla press) and so much better than the average packaged ones you can get in our neighborhood.

Leftover Chicken Enchiladas
serves 2

1 cup of leftover Portuguese Chicken or any other braised saucy chicken - shredded including any onions
1/2 cup of leftover sauce
1 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of crushed red pepper flake
salt & fresh cracked pepper
6-8 soft corn tortillas
crumbled queso fresco or mild feta

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a small saucepan mix leftover chicken sauce, tomato sauce and spices.  bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes to combine flavors, while prepping everything else.  
2.  Lightly oil a medium casserole.  Heat an 8" skillet over medium heat.  Warm one tortilla about 30 seconds per side so it is more pliable.  Keep warm in a towel while you heat the others.
3.  Place a tbsp or 2 of chicken mixture in a line in the center of each tortilla, roll the edges around the chicken and place seem side down in the oiled casserole.  Once the casserole dish is filled and there is no more chicken, carefully pour the sauce evenly over top of the enchiladas.  Top with crumbled cheese.
4.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the enchilada are heated all the way through.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving with pickled red onions.

The pickled onions aren't necessary to enjoy this dish, but I found that the acid really helped balance out the richness of the dish.  This was one of those rare moments where the leftovers were as good as the chicken was first time around.  It it a treatment that would work well with any saucy chicken dish you may have leftovers of, so you aren't making an enchilada sauce from scratch.  There was already tons of flavor in the sauce and with a bit of added tomato sauce and some chili it gave it a more Mexican feel.


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