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Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas


For the rice:

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1/3 cup broken spaghetti or orzo

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 small to medium onion, peeled

  • 1 ripe tomato

  • 1 cup long-grain rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • A generous pinch of saffron

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the enchilada sauce:

  • 4 dried guajillo chili peppers or dried red New Mexico chili peppers, stemmed

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 can tomato sauce (32 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and ground

For the enchiladas:

  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed or charred

  • 8 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

  • A handful of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped


For the rice: Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the pasta and toast until golden. Grate the garlic, onion and tomato into the pan. Stir in the rice, then add the stock and saffron and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Fluff with a fork and remove from the heat. For the enchilada sauce: Toast the dried chili peppers in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, pressing flat with a metal spatula and turning occasionally, 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the chili peppers are soft. Transfer the peppers and stock to a food processor and puree until smooth. Wipe out the skillet and return to the heat. Add the oil, garlic and onion and cook until soft. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, tomato sauce and chili pepper puree and simmer until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the almonds and remove from the heat. For the enchiladas: Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned. Stir in the coriander, cumin and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Dip a warm tortilla in the sauce, fill with some of the rice and chicken and roll up. Place the enchilada seam-side down in a casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas in an even layer. Bake until heated through, 30-35 minutes. Top with the queso fresco and cilantro. Cook's Note: The unbaked enchiladas, without the final layer of sauce, can be covered and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal. Refrigerate the sauce separately. Before serving, top with the sauce and bake as directed.