Saturday, July 24, 2010

Susan Branch Chicken Enchiladas

Ok, in the interest of fairness, I will post Susan's recipe here, but the truth of the matter is that her recipe has merely become the cook's equivalent of a scraplift. (For all you non-scrappers, a scraplift is when you use someone else's idea for a page, but insert your own photos and words. Hopefully. And you better give credit where credit is due, or there will be hell to pay!)

Anyway; I have been making this recipe since I was given her first two books as wedding gifts 22 years ago. I have enough enchilada recipes that I could seriously make enchiladas for 3 full weeks, and never use the same one twice. (My family might rebel, but whatever.) This one, or my interpretation of it, remains my favorite. It is also the only one that uses cream instead of enchilada sauce, so I must publicly thank Susan for dragging me outside my box...never have I so deliriously stood on the precipice of deliciousness! You really should check out her books, if you haven't already; Half the deliciosity of her books is the artwork, and it is calorie-free! Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for her recipes...Not over the top caloric, but not diet fare by any stretch!

Susan's version:
3 c chopped cooked chicken
1 4oz can chopped green chilis
1 7oz can green chili salsa
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 dozen corn tortillas
2 cups grated Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together chicken, green chilis and salsa. In another fairly large bowl, mix together cream and salt. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan. Dip each tortilla into hot oil for 3 seconds or so to soften. Drain on paper towels, and lay into bowl containing cream. Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture~roll them up and place into ungreased baking dish. Pour extra cream over then enchiladas and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes and serve hot.

My version:
Recognize that it is 6:30, and there is no plan for dinner. Run to Costco (for me that is less than half a of the reasons this is such a good last minute dish...may not be for you.) Grab a deli chicken, some pepper jack cheese and a huge container of salsa, any variety. Might need some tortillas, but won't need all 75 of them. (I get flour tortillas, to save the softening step...and they are bigger.) Could also grab cream, but probably shouldn't use the entire half-gallon. Your call. Might also need toilet paper and milk, but not for this recipe.
Find the shortest line, or this will not qualify as a quick dinner.

Get home. Preheat oven. Tear apart the chicken, try to refrain from swearing if you burn your fingers. those suckers stay hot for a long time. Throw it in a bowl. (one of the dish-saving strategies I use is to avoid the cutting board; I throw it right into a mixing bowl and use kitchen shears to chop right in bowl. It doesn't have to be pretty, just relatively bite-sized. Keep in mind that I feed a husband his first meal of the day, and two perpetually ravenous boys. "Bite-sized" is a relative term around here.) Anyway, cut half of that 2 pound block of cheese (Remember it is pepper-jack, as opposed to Susan's 'plain' jack...another time-grocery-step saving strategy.) Grate the cheese right on top of the chicken. Open the huge salsa bottle, pour some right over the chicken and cheese, and begin to mix. Keep adding salsa until you have a fairly malleable mixture...moist is good. Tear open the tortillas, and start filling and rolling; I use a half-cup so this is easy and consistent. Toss them into an enamelware pan, which is also a time-saving's like teflon, but cuter. Open the cream, and pour some over all the enchiladas, until they are submerged by about 1/4th to 1/3rd. Toss a little more cheese on the top, and throw them in the oven til they brown. Pour yourself a Pacifico, and serve the enchiladas with a half an avocado...easier than a salad. Damn. Forgot the avocados at Costco. Make a salad that nobody will eat because it doesn't have any avocado in it. Drink another Pacifico. These enchiladas are delicious cold...if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.


  1. thanks Megan - I was going to ask you for this!

  2. Just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I appreciated the kind words on my blog :)