The right ingredients are necessary for perfect tray of chicken enchiladas, but the spices are what really matter.
Mexican cuisine is as unique as any other popular type of food in the U.S., and it’s currently gaining in popularity as more people get a chance to try it. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California are no longer the only places to find Mexican cuisine. Fast-food Mexican restaurants along with regional and national chains have expanded the market throughout the rest of the nation, and they have been received quite well. So well, in fact, that Mexican food is now listed as a traditional United States cuisine.
History of Mexican Food
Mexico’s history was responsible for the development of its unique cuisine. It was originally brought to the area by Aztec nomads, who had a rather limited diet of bean paste, corn, garden vegetables and flour. However, after the Spaniards arrived centuries later, new sources of easy protein, like lambs, goats and pigs were added to Mexican dishes, as were new spices, grains and other vegetables.
Preparing Mexican Food
At first glance, Mexican meals appear easy to prepare, and they are — with a big caveat. You can assemble and cook a Mexican meal quickly and easily, but without the correct spices, it won’t taste “Mexican.” However, that problem has been solved by companies that package and sell various spice mixes for tacos, enchiladas, nachos and other Mexican fare. Sauces play a big part in south-of-the-border meals, so it’s important to pay attention when preparing your meals to keep the right spices, sauces and ingredients on hand for authenticity’s sake.
Chicken Enchilada Recipe
Chicken enchiladas are delicious and easy to make. Assemble your ingredients, and you’ll have a great meal in one hour.
4 Tablespoons of vegetable or corn oil
2 medium white onions, peeled and diced
3 pounds of chicken breast meat cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Large pinch of salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons cumin
2 Tablespoons coriander
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 4-ounce cans of pickled jalapeno peppers
2 cans refried black or pinto beans
12 10-inch flour tortillas
4 cups Monterey Jack cheese
2 cans enchilada sauce, red or green
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add oil to large skillet and saute onions for 4 to 5 minutes. Then, add chicken and peppers and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Set aside when finished.
- Arrange a buffet line with tortillas, chicken/veggie mixture, beans, cheese and enchilada sauce.
- Start with one tortilla and add a layer of everything you prepared for the enchiladas. Roll it up, and place in pregreased 9 x 11″ casserole dish. Continue making enchiladas until ingredients are used.
- Cover with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately with picante sauce. If desired, garnish with cilantro.
Ground or shredded beef, steak or pulled pork can be substituted for chicken. Turkey burger is also a good alternative.
This is the Tex-Mex version of enchiladas. More authentic Mexican versions would contain less meat and more vegetables.
Try this recipe with a red sauce. Both green and red sauces are relatively easy to make and can be prepared with your tastes in mind. If you like spicy Mexican, add more spices; cut back on them if you prefer a less spicy meal.
Once you’ve expanded your culinary horizons to include Mexican cuisine, you’ll find a world of flavors awaits you. Try your hand at making tacos, burritos, nachos, tostadas and all the other delicious offerings from south of the border.