Creamy Chicken Enchiladas: Simple but Sublime

While cruising the coast of Mexico, the crew of Outrider came up with this recipe for a creamy, spicy chicken concoction.

Chicken Enchiladas

Lynda Morris Childress

Simplicity is the name of the game aboard Outrider, our Westsail 42. We live aboard and cruise in Mexico for eight months of the year. Mostly we enjoy the bountiful harvest the ocean provides, but there are times when we're just not lucky enough to catch anything. Fortunately, fresh or frozen chicken is readily available in all the cities and bigger towns of Mexico, and usually is less expensive than beef or pork, so we always have a good supply of it onboard. Whenever we come away empty-handed from fishing, we head for the freezer and pull out a couple of chicken breasts to turn into an easy, tasty meal. Because we eat a fair amount of chicken, we experiment with different recipes to keep our meals fun and interesting. Some are a success, some aren't! This one was a huge hit with both of us, and is our favorite of all the enchilada recipes we've come up with.

Recipe for Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
Ingredients:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
8 8-inch flour tortillas
2 cups cheddar and/or Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 4-ounce can green chilies, chopped (or more to taste)

Steps:
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Sauté chicken and onion in oil on medium-high heat until chicken is done. Let cool slightly, shred chicken, and divide chicken and onions evenly among the eight tortillas. Add 1/8 cup cheese to each tortilla. Roll the tortillas and place them seam side down in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Melt butter in a saucepan and gradually add flour to make a roux, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth a little at a time, still stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thickened. Let it come to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and green chilies, then pour sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Top enchiladas with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden and sauce bubbles at the edges. Serves four, or two with leftovers for the next day — this keeps well in the fridge. Note: If you use pre-cooked chicken in this recipe, just add the sautéed onions to the sauce when you add the chilies.

CAN BE PREPARED: AT ANCHOR
PREP TIME: 1 HOUR
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM

Tip: Roast Your Own Chilies
by Lynda Morris Childress
If you can't find canned green chilies wherever you're cruising, if fresh peppers are available, it's easy to roast your own. Banana chilies (also called yellow wax peppers) are a good, mild pepper to roast for this recipe, but choose the pepper that suits your own palate. Important: If you use hot chili peppers, wear disposable latex gloves when handling them.

To roast peppers: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Place whole peppers on an ungreased cookie sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until skins are charred on all sides and peppers are soft, turning frequently with tongs. Remove and place in a paper bag to steam until cool enough to handle.

When cooled slightly, gently peel off skins, remove stems, scrape out seeds, and discard. Slice and dice pepper for use in recipes or salads.