Instead of covering them entirely with water (or broth) and letting the chicken breasts simmer until done, the method tonight first slides the meat into a pan with just an inch of boiling salted water. The temperature is immediately turned down to maintain a simmer with a lid on top, sealing in the moisture. After a short five minutes, the skillet is removed from the heat and the chicken finishes cooking through from the steaming water.
While we waited for the chicken, we created the sauce that will do double duty in these enchiladas. Instead of a green or red sauce, this recipe has you create a sauce simply made from chicken broth that is seasoned with garlic, smoky cumin and spicy chipotles in adobo. Also added during this time is a quarter cup of flour to help thicken and give the sauce some body. Part of this light mixture is tossed with the tender chicken that we shredded into bite-sized pieces after it had a chance to cool down a bit.
The chicken is then divided up between warmed white corn tortillas and rolled up into tight little cigars. We placed the filled tortillas onto a bed of the same sauce that the chicken was coated with in a regular 8" square baking dish and while the tortillas are supposed to be snug, we had to really squish them together to fit, with the last two barely making it in. Maybe a 9" pan would give them just a little wiggle room? Just as they lay on the bed of that sauce, the remaining generous amount is poured over the top, ensuring the tortillas have enough moisture to prevent them from drying out in the oven. Since the sauce is fairly spicy from the chipotles, a couple ounces of mild Monterey Jack was the cheese of choice to shred on top.
Now, I really don't think I could tell a difference in this dish with the method used to pre-cook the chicken vs standard poaching, but the chicken did stay tender and juicy as advertised. I liked how light the sauce was, yet it still had plenty of zip from the smoky chipotles and cumin. I asked Jeff if he thought it would have been better with some sort of tomatoes in the sauce, but he commented that it was tasty as is. It definitely got bonus points for being petty simple and taking less than an hour from start to finish!
Lighter Chicken Enchiladas