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Enchiladas Suizas
(Swiss Enchiladas)

This recipe makes 12 enchiladas.

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano chiles [1]
  • 2 lbs. tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped white onion
  • 2 serrano chiles, chopped with seeds [2]
  • 1 tsp. dried Mexican or regular oregano
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 12 large 6" white corn tortillas
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • garlic salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded [3]
  • Mexican crema or sour cream (optional)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wearing a face mask and clean vinyl or latex gloves [4], chop the poblano chiles in halves and seed them. Broil them in the toaster oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the skin should be separated at this point. Let it cool on the counter for 10 minutes, then peel off as much of the skin as you can. Chop them coarsely.
  2. Put poblano chiles in a blender. Add tomatillos, cilantro, onion, serrano chiles, oregano, chicken broth, sugar and 1 tsp salt in blender. Puree in batches until smooth.
  3. Transfer the chili sauce to a large saucepan, cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to blend the flavors. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, dip the tortillas one at a time in the hot oil until they become limp, about 3 seconds. By heating the tortillas in the oil, they become flexible enough to roll. Drain on paper towels. Stack and cover to keep them soft and warm.
  5. Sprinkle a light coating of garlic salt over chicken breasts and sauté with vegetable oil in an iron skillet until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Shred the cooked chicken breast and mix it with 1/2 cup of cooked enchilada sauce.
  7. To assemble the enchiladas, put about 2 tablespoons of chicken on a tortilla and roll it into a cylinder. Place it seam-side down in large baking casserole. Repeat until 12 tortillas are filled, rolled and placed side-by-side in the dish.
  8. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce [5] over the casserole. Scatter cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 350°F or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Broil for 1-2 minutes to nicely brown the cheese. Garnish with Mexican crema and chopped cilantro. Serve with Spanish rice.

Notes:

  • [1] In the U.S., grocery stores tend to mislabel the poblano chile as a pasilla chile. The actual pasilla chile pepper has a skinny, wrinkled shape. Poblano peppers are mildly spicy at 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units. For milder enchiladas, use just two poblano peppers.

    Poblano pepper. Photo by stef yau, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
  • [2] Serrano peppers are very spicy at 6,000 to 23,000 Scoville heat units (by contrast, jalapeno peppers have 2,500 to 5,000 SCU). For milder enchiladas, use just one serrano pepper or eliminate altogether.
  • [3] Although this recipe is for Swiss enchiladas, it uses jack cheese instead of Swiss cheese (although some cooks use Swiss cheese). The dish gets the name "Swiss Enchiladas" because it is attibuted to Mexico's Swiss immigrants.
  • [4] Cutting poblano and serrano peppers releases capsaicin from the interior membranes and seeds. The capsaicin gets into the air, which irritate your lungs and the juice can burn your skin so it is important to wear a face mask and gloves when handling spicy peppers. Depending on how sensitive you are, you may need to wear a face mask throughout the process of cutting, seeding and finally blending them.
  • [5] If are not using all of the enchilada sauce, you can store it in the freezer to use later. The sauce also tastes great in tacos.
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