Enchiladas are a favourite of many people with a tasty meat filling in a tortilla wrap covered with a flavoursome tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese. My version is filled with sliced chicken breast mixed with spicy pickled jalapenos.
The chicken breast is panfried in cumin oil. I simply place cold oil into my frying pan and season the oil with salt and add the cumin seeds. As the pan heats up, the cumin seeds start to release their aroma and as the chicken cooks in the pan, the seeds release flavour and the chicken absorbs this flavour. Cumin itself, for me, is a very Mexican spice, with its background warmth and toastiness which adds so much depth to a lot of Mexican food.
I think making the tomato sauce from scratch makes a huge difference to this dish. The spices and sweating down the onions and peppers add a lot of flavour and liven up the enchiladas. The sauce is also fantastic with pasta so making extra sauce is always a good idea so you can have a quick meal when you get home from a long day.
The dish I used was a ceramic baking dish from Poundland and I found the mini tortilla wraps from Tesco. You can use any baking dish you have in your cupboard, just make sure that your wraps fit inside it otherwise you might have a bit of trouble squeezing it into your dish.
For the chicken:
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
For the spicy tomato sauce:
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely sliced into half moons
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 50g curly kale, finely chopped, stalky bits removed
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp cornflour
For the enchiladas:
30g pickled red jalapenos, finely chopped
6 mini wheat tortilla wraps or 4 normal wheat tortilla wraps
50g cheese of your choice, grated; I used Double Gloucester
Place the cumin seeds and salt into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Heat up the pan until the oil is hot and the seeds begin to colour and release their aroma. Panfry the chicken breasts in the cumin oil to brown on each side. The chicken will let you know when it needs to be turned over because it won’t stick to the pan.
Once browned, place onto a baking tray and bake the chicken breasts in an oven preheated to 200˚C. Bake the chicken breasts for around 20 – 25 minutes, depending on how thick they are, until they are cooked all the way through and no pinkness remains; if you have a food thermometer, it must exceed 74˚C.
For the spicy tomato sauce, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Add in the diced peppers and sliced onions and cook them for around 7-8 minutes until they have softened and the onions are translucent. Add in the fresh tomato and the tomato puree and cook the puree out for a minute. Add in all the spices at once and the sugar, some salt and some pepper and stir to combine.
Throw in the kale and the chopped tomatoes. Fill the tin halfway full of water and swill the tin and add to the pan. Stir and bring it to the boil and allow to reduce by about a quarter. Mix the cornflour with some water to form a slurry and add to the sauce, stirring to thicken. Continue to cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Leave to cool slightly.
Shred or chop the chicken into small strips and place into a bowl with the chopped jalapenos. Spoon about half of the contents of the pan into the bowl, avoiding too much of the sauce, and mix together.
Divide the chicken mix between your wraps, placing them in a line in the centre of the wrap. Roll up the tortilla, tucking in the wrap so that they form a tight roll. Place them seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour over the remaining sauce over the top and spread over. Sprinkle over your cheese (I didn’t have a grater so just chopped it up finely).
Bake for around 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese has melted, the sauce is bubbling and any exposed edges of the tortillas have crisped up. Serve on their own as pictured or with sour cream, coriander and a wedge of lime.
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