Tuesday, November 9, 2010

betcha didn't expect to see this

Believe it or not, I've been perusing recipes for chicken enchiladas as of late. Can't exactly tell you why, seeing as I've never really even had much experience with chicken enchiladas, but I've just been curiously drawn to them. A typically cheesy, creamy dish that's perked up with chile and cilantro and made hearty by shredded rotisserie chicken. More importantly, I wanted to try and find a recipe that would allow me to lighten it up significantly while also making it a little bit more "gourmet" and a little bit less kitschy. And while a cup of cream and a pound of cheese might be appropriate (and/or borderline cruel) for a dinner party, it has no place in my weekly diet. And so here's what I'm proposing: replace the cup of cream with a combination of 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream and 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt. The mozzarella cheese can be replaced with part-skim mozzarella (or a reduced fat monterey jack or cheddar). While I admittedly haven't yet experimented with this on my own, I have a feeling the substitutions will work seamlessly and none of the luxurious texture of this dish will be sacrificed in the least.

Cooking for one? Try halving or quartering the recipe and layering it up in a smaller individual-sized baking dish. Just cut the tortillas down to size to fit the vessel.

And alongside? You can guarantee there will be a simple green salad with some sliced avocado and tomato with a lime dressing to liven things up. The added bonus to this recipe is that it's a totally economical way to feed a crowd. Not to mention incredibly filling with just enough of a kick for both body and soul. Which is just what this doctor ordered.

Layered Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2005, amended by yours truly
Makes 8 servings

2 pounds large tomatillos, husked, rinsed, halved
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups sliced green onions
2 cups (packed) very coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 large serrano chile, sliced (with seeds)
12 5- to 6-inch flour tortillas
1 purchased rotisserie chicken, meat torn into strips (about 4 cups)
1 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into strips
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 450F. Mix tomatillos, chicken broth, and garlic cloves in a large saucepan. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently until tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer hot mixture to processor. Add sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced chile; blend mixture to coarse puree. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Overlap 6 tortillas in 13x9x2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Top tortillas with half of the chicken strips and half mozzarella strips. Pour 2 cups tomatillo sauce evenly over. Top with remaining tortillas, chicken strips, and mozzarella. Stir in reduced-fat sour cream and fat free greek yogurt into 1 1/2 cups of tomatillo sauce and pour over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until bubbling, about 25 minutes. Cool enchiladas 10 minutes. Serve with remaining tomatillo sauce.

Photo above courtesy of Bon Appetit

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