Chicken Spinach Enchiladas

I was at my chiropractor’s office today, and he looked concerned. My adjustments had been holding, so I wondered what else was on his mind. He confessed to me that he found the  Beef Wellington recipe I had posted to be a bit intimidating. It looked so detailed and  intricate that he was afraid to try it. It’s one thing to experiment with yellow versus vidalia onions, it’s another thing to experiment with a hundred dollars worth of beef tenderloin. He told me he’d never seen a Beef Wellington before. I told him it’s not something people usually bring to a potluck dinner.

Here’s a recipe for Chicken Spinach Enchiladas that Dr. Steve said was more his style.  I got it from one of my cousins and made it last night with leftover chicken.  I was too lazy to shave, or clean the kitchen so there is not an accompanying video, just some pictures I took with no great plan in mind.

The Enchiladas looked and smelled so good I had eaten one before I realized I had forgotten to take a photo. The 2 corn tortillas are on the right.

The great thing about this recipe is you can make and refrigerate the filling ahead of time. Gently reheat before assembling and baking the enchiladas. This recipe makes between 6 and 8 enchiladas depending on how big you roll them. I used all the sauce and cheese on 4 tortillas (2 corn and 2 flour) with some leftover filling that I used in an omelet.  I’ve made notes where I’ve made changes in the original recipe. And by original recipe I mean the recipe as it was given to me. They probably don’t use this recipe in Juárez.

FILLING

  • 1 Cup diced onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small package of fresh mushrooms sliced (or 4 oz. can of mushrooms)
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper diced (or small jar of fire roasted red pepper)
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground cumin or 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 – 6 ounce bag of baby spinach
  • 2 cup shredded chicken
  • 2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican-style cheese
  • 1 can of corn, (8 oz.) or small package of frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup Philadelphia original cooking cream.

ENCHILADA SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced scallion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder +
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour  +
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground coriander, sugar and pepper of your choice
  • 2 cups chicken broth, stock, or chicken bouillon
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)

Preheat the the oven to 400°. Cook the onion, garlic and red pepper over medium heat until soft approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cumin over the onions and garlic and stir and cooking another minute. Add the spinach and cook until wilted approximately 1 minute. Add the cooked chicken 1 cup of the cheese and the cooking cream. Mix well and simmer 4-5 min. If using fresh mushrooms sautéed them separately making sure the water has been evaporated. Add to the filling mix. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper. The filling can be made in advance. Once the mixture has come to room temperature cover it in place in the refrigerator overnight.

Celebrity Chef Vinny Verelli - Enchiladas

A fabulous combination of texture and colors.

For the enchilada sauce.
Cook the onions and garlic in the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, tomato paste. flour, oregano, cumin, coriander, sugar and your pepper. Cook 2 min. Whisk in the broth and bring the sauce to a boil stirring continually. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 min. Add the tomato sauce simmer additional 5 min. and then adjust the seasoning.  The enchilada sauce also can be made in advance. Allow to cool, cover and place in refrigerator.

Assembling the enchiladas.

If you have prepared the filling and sauce in advance slowly reheat each before assembling the enchiladas. Spread half of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish that has been coated with nonstick spray. Fill each tortilla with the filling and roll, placing in the dish seam down. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese leaving the ends dry. Bake until cheese melts and turns a medium brown about 15-20 minutes.  Allowed to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with fresh sprigs of  cilantro.

NOTES:
A pound bag of spinach cost $7 at Ingle’s. You can fill a container of spinach from the salad bar for $5 a pound.

Note on Chili Powder: The 1st time I made this, I looked at the recipe and saw 1/4 teaspoon chili powder when actually the measurement as written was 1/4 cup. The sauce tasted different, something was missing, then I realize what it was. It was the overwhelming taste of chili powder. Even when you’re making chili you don’t want the flavor of chili powder to overpower the other ingredients, that is unless you’re making opossum chili. And see now I’ve gone and offended the people up here who call opossum the other other white meat.   I guess what I mean to say is, “this is one of seasonings you add to taste.” I suggest starting with 2 Tablespoons and adjust.

Notes on Flour: Once again the recipe called for one tablespoon of flour, I ended up adding close to an additional tablespoon to get the sauce as thick as I like it. I’m from a family that likes our sauce is thick. It just holds on to everything better. So in addition to the 1 tablespoon of flour that you use initially, I dissolve another tablespoon in some cool chicken broth. If the sauce looks too thin I’ll whisk in some of the extra flour.  Don’t put the additional flour mixture into a simmering sauce. Let it sit for a few minutes.  Pour some of the flour mixture and whisk constantly as you bring the sauce back up to a simmer. Cook until desired thickness.

Additional Ingredients:  Aside from the corn and spinach there wasn’t much color in the chicken mixture. Adding the roasted red pepper provided some nice red color. The mushrooms were not in the recipe that was given to me but I love mushrooms and they add a different texture to the meal. I also love the taste of fresh cilantro. If you have fresh cilantro chop some up 1/4 – 1/2 cup and toss it into the mixture

PS: Although my chiropractor wasn’t going to try making the Beef Wellington, he did try the single barrel Jack Daniels.

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2 thoughts on “Chicken Spinach Enchiladas

  1. I love your riff on the recipe, Jon, especially the red peppers. I actually like a lot of chili powder. Now, let me clarify that the original recipe, which started out from Cuisine at Home magazine, called for one eight-ounce can of tomato sauce. You came out with 18 oz can, which may have been a transcription error on my part. IMHO 8 ounces is plenty. Unless you’re Italian, tee hee!

  2. Thank You Vinny V. Definitely a little more my speed. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out. Your Friend,
    Dr. Steve

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