Ancho chillies are a favourite of mine. They are quite mild, but have a distinct warm heat combined with a fruity and earthy flavour. I use them to make chocolate mole chicken. They can be a little difficult to come by in Australia. I usually find them at specialty delis or food shops (like Essential Ingredient). I use them here to take chicken enchiladas to a new level. You could easily omit them and use capsicum or another chilli variety. I like making my enchiladas with small corn tortillas – I like the texture and flavour combination better than wheat flour tortillas. That said, corn tortillas can be more flakey and buggers to roll.
Baked chicken enchiladas with Ancho chilli sauce
- 300 g chicken thighs (no skin)
- bay leaf
- 2 dried Ancho chillies, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 440 g (1 can) tinned tomato, chopped
- ½ cup grated tasty cheese, plus a little extra for topping
- 250 g tub sour cream
- 1 packet (8 or 10) small corn (or flour) tortillas
- Place the chicken thighs in a pot on the stove top and just cover with water.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt and a bay leaf.
- Bring to the boil, turn down the heat to a slow simmer, then place the lid on and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and rest in poaching water for a further 20 minutes.
- Remove from water and shred chicken using forks. Allow to cool.
- Mix shredded chicken with grated cheese and half the sour cream (approximately 125 g).
- Make the sauce by roughly chopping the softened Ancho chillies and removing their seeds.
- Heat olive oil in a fry pan to medium, then add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent (not browned), add garlic and fry a further minute or two.
- Add the chillies, cumin, oregano, tomato, chicken stock and season with salt.
- Simmer sauce for about ten minutes until thickened.
- Allow to cool slightly, then blend to a puree with a stick blender (or keep chunky if you prefer).
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
- Lightly oil a pyrex baking dish and layer the bottom with most of the Ancho chilli sauce.
- Warm the tortillas according to packet instructions (so they are soft and easy to roll).
- Lie one tortilla flat on work surface and place 2 tablespoons of chicken mixture on the bottom edge and roll into a tube.
- Place in baking dish and repeat with remainder of tortillas until all the chicken mixture is used.
- Top with remainder of Ancho chilli sauce, sour cream (keep a tablespoon or so aside to serve) and scatter top with extra grated cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes until brown and crisp on top.
- Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh coriander leaves.
- Accompany with guacamole and sweet corn.