Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, Guacamole and Lime Crema
I am a HUGE fan of the Mexican kitchen! This recipe is tasty, delicious and packed with flavor. The ingredients are readily available at most stores, and although the recipe has several steps it is very “doable” even for beginner cooks. These chicken enchiladas can also be done with pork or just veggies and ALWAYS provides LOTS of deliciousness!!!
For the enchiladas: Add the cumin seeds to a large, dry saute pan. Heat over medium-low and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and process until finely ground.
Season the chicken thighs liberally with kosher salt. Add the olive oil to a large, high-sided saute pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, slice into strips and set aside.
Add the onion and a splash of beer to deglaze and release the chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir to combine and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jalapeno and continue to cook until the onions and jalapeno are soft, another 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cilantro stems, sliced chicken, the remaining beer, toasted ground cumin and chipotle powder. Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the pan, then drop the squeezed lime halves directly into the pan. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning with kosher salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Continue to cook until the chicken starts to pull apart and most of the liquid has cooked away but the pan still has some moisture, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the lime halves and discard.
For the salsa verde: Preheat a cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat. Place the tomatillos and jalapeno onto the pan and roast, turning occasionally on all sides, until soft and charred, 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Slice the jalapeno in half and remove half the seeds (or leave the seeds in if you prefer a more spicy salsa verde). Add the garlic, cilantro, roasted tomatillos and jalapeno, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil and kosher salt to taste to a blender and puree until smooth.
For the guacamole: Combine the avocado, tomato, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime zest and lime juice in a bowl and mash together but leave some texture. The guacamole should be chunky.
For the crema: Mix the crema, lime zest and lime juice together in a bowl.
To assemble, preheat the oven to broil. Scoop 1/4 cup salsa verde into the bottom of 4 small baking dishes and use a spatula to evenly distribute. Warm the corn tortillas on the cast iron griddle over medium heat until slightly toasty and pliable. Scoop about 1/4 cup of chicken filling into each tortilla and roll. Place into the baking dish, seam-side down, and repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling, using 2 tortillas per serving dish. Top each with another 1/4 cup sauce, 1/2 cup Monterey jack and the crumbled cotija. Transfer to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and melted, about 5 minutes. Serve with the guacamole and crema.