Friday, May 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge - Stacked Enchilada's!

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

Please forgive my not-so-great pictures. They are a work in progress. I knew when I started this blog they would be my biggest challenge, and to date, they have been. I am trying a few different things, and so far, I am happy at my improvements.

My first daring cook challenge! And, I almost forgot that I had been accepted...darn, this would have been a great thing to make for Cinco de Mayo...I remembered to check the forums 1 week before the deadline *yikes*. And, I so wanted to make a good impression with my first challenge.

Since I lived in So. Cal. for a number of years, I have experimented both with CalMex and real Mexican flavors. However, homemade enchilada sauce is something I had not tried before. Crazy, isn't it? I've made tamales and moles, both of which I consider challenging, but I always managed to purchase the enchilada sauce.

I now live in the wilds of Washington State, and was worried I would be able to find fresh tomatillo's. Never fear, I found them. My first attempt at this sauce met with disaster. It was one that I should have known, but did anyway. I purchased tomatillo's and "ancho" chili's from a local (30 miles away) vegetable stand. Well, the chili's looked kind of funny, and rather small. After roasting them, I tasted them, and they set my mouth on FIRE! After doing a little bit of investigating, I think they were hot Thai chili's. I kept one for heat for my sauce, and set out on my second 30 mile trip to civilization for ancho's.

I broiled both the chili's and the tomatillo's after coating them in oil. I used the recipe provided, for the most part. I stewed chicken thighs in a little bit of the sauce and some other seasonings, and shredded the results for the filling. I just like chicken thigh meat in dishes like this - to me, it tastes more, well, chicken-ey. I also used home made chicken stock instead of the chicken broth, so didn't use any thickener, since I used less stock.

Although I wanted to make my own tortilla's, I had some baking to do for family this week, so wasn't able to. I did, however, mix some of the finished sauce with chopped avocado's and chopped cilantro (and a little garlic, salt, and pepper) for an amazing guacamole!

The recipe below is modified to what I did from the original daring cooks challenge. Overall, this was a great experience. I can't wait until next month!

Stacked Chicken Enchilada's with green chile sauce

1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams - roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely.

7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams - peel, remove stems

2 cups Chicken stock

1 clove Garlic, minced

2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)

¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)

Hot sauce, your favorite, optional

1 lb chicken thighs, cooked in 1 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, 1 t. garlic powder, ½ c. enchilada sauce and 3 cups water until very tender

3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)

Kosher salt and pepper

12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm).

6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)

Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional


Roasting Fresh Chiles

1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.

2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.

3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.

4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.


Green Chile Sauce

1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken stock, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.


  1. Yikes! - Good call on not putting those Thai chiles in the dish, I'm sure they would have overwhelmed the tomatillos. Congratulations on your first challenge!

  2. I'm so impressed you traveled so far twice to make the sauce! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Welcome to Daring Cooks. Thanks for cooking with us!

  3. @monkeyshines: Well, I am a bit of a spice wimp at times - I don't like things that are so hot that's all I can taste, so I taste everything I cook with if I have any doubt.

    @Barbara - Thank you! I had so much fun. I don't worry about the distance any more, that's how far I have to travel for most of my groceries anyway.