Mexican food will be on many minds as Cinco de Mayo is coming up in a few days, but Mexican food is a go-to favorite for most any day, including “Uno de Mayo”—especially since Uno is on a Friday and Cinco on a Tuesday this year.
Traditionally, enchiladas are made by wrapping a sauce-dipped tortilla around a filling to produce something like a rolled crepe. These are then arranged in a baking dish, covered with sauce and a sprinkling of cheese, and baked. The process is somewhat messy and time-consuming according to The Great Meat Cookbook author Bruce Aidells, so he prefers to layer three flat tortillas to make stacked enchiladas, which are much easier and less messy to put together than the rolled kind. They are best made with older, stiff tortillas, he suggests.
Stacked enchiladas hale from the northern Mexican state of Sonora and are also popular in New Mexico. In this recipe by Aidells, which appeared in Real Food, the chicken and mole sauce are cooked separately. That way, the cooked chicken can easily be shredded and the sauce kept separate for spreading over tortillas. He likes to create stacks of three tortillas high, which makes a nice serving size. Four of these stacks take up a lot of room, so you may need to make two stacks of six tortillas and cut in half from top to bottom to serve. These taller stacks will take an extra 10 to 15 minutes to cook.
Mix up a batch of Margaritas and raise a glass to Cinco de Mayo, “Uno de Mayo,” or any day this Mayo!
Chicken Mole Verde Enchiladas
(Chicken Enchiladas in an Almond and Green Chile Sauce)
Makes 4 servings with Leftovers
6 c. chicken broth, homemade or canned
1⁄2 unpeeled onion
4 cloves garlic
6 green onions, white parts
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
1 whole carrot
3 lb. chicken, boneless and skinless
Mole Verde Sauce
1⁄2 c. toasted almonds
12 tomatillos, diced
11⁄2 c. chopped onion
4 c. reserved broth
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves
1⁄4 c. lime juice, or more to taste
6 green onions, green parts cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 jalapenÌƒos, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
4 fire-roasted poblano chilies, fresh or canned
12 corn tortillas
1 c. green onions, thinly sliced
11⁄2 c. shredded jack cheese
1⁄2 c. chopped cilantro leaves
For the chicken: In a large casserole or Dutch oven, bring broth to a boil with onion, garlic, green onions, cumin seeds, oregano, bay leaves, and carrot. Add chicken, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until chicken is tender (thighs may take a little longer). Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside to cool slightly. Reserve 4 cups broth for Mole Verde sauce. Chop or shred chicken.
For the Mole Verde sauce: In a blender, pureÌe almonds. Add 2 cups reserved broth, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and remaining ingredients. Blend to form a slightly lumpy sauce.
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add Mole Verde sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, 10 to 15 minutes, until mixture becomes quite thick. Stir in 1 cup broth and simmer uncovered until sauce has reduced and slightly thickened. Add more broth if sauce is too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place sauce in a saucepan, adding broth as needed (sauce should be slightly thickened but not too thick). Grease a rimmed, 11-by-17-inch sheet pan. Place a tortilla at end of pan (you should be able to make 4 stacks on pan). Spoon over 2 to 3 tablespoons sauce, spreading to fully coat tortilla. Sprinkle over about 1⁄3 cup chicken. Top with another tortilla. Repeat to make 4 stacks of 3 tortillas. Sprinkle over green onions and top each stack with a quarter of cheese. Bake 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and center reaches 140°F. Sprinkle each stack with cilantro and serve.
Nutrition info (per serving) Chicken Enchiladas (Using 6oz Chicken): Calories 685 (265 From Fat); Fat 30g (Sat. 12g); Chol 150mg; Sodium 484mg; Carb 49g; Fiber 8g; Protein 57g