One hobby Michael and I have taken up lately is beer brewing. Now, brewing beer is something I would put in the same category as baking; it takes patience, precision, and time. It would come as no surprise, then, that I do not enjoy the brewing process as much as the finished product.
But all of this effort has given me a new appreciation for the stuff, and the people who make it, so in honor of them, I present to you, beer-braised chicken enchiladas:
Continue for the recipe!
For the Chicken:
- juice of 1 lime
- approximately 1 1/2 lbs chicken (I used boneless skinless thigh meat)
- 4 jalapenos, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5-6 dried New Mexican Chilis
- 1/2 small onion or shallots, minced
- salt & pepper
- olive oil, for browning the chicken
- 1 beer of your choice (I used a stout, but pale ales or lagers work well too)
For the enchiladas:
- shredded chicken meat
- store bought enchilada sauce (I know, I know)
- corn tortillas
- canola, peanut, or vegetable oil for frying the tortillas
- additions: guacamole, hot sauce, shredded iceberg lettuce, beans, queso blanco, cilantro, etc. Your choice!
First, prepare your ingredients.
In a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat, saute the onions, garlic, and jalapenos until fragrant. Season your chicken. Then add these in and brown those on both sides.
Once they are brown, add the New Mexican chilis and pour in your beer. Bring this to a boil. Then, reduce the heat, and let this simmer with the lid on over very low heat for the next 3 hours.
When 3-ish hours have passed, your chicken should be nice and fragrant and tender. There will still be a good amount of liquid left. Remove the chicken pieces, and shred with two forks. They should be pretty easy to shred. Add the chicken back into the liquid. Remove the New Mexican chilis and discard. With the lid off over medium heat, cook the shredded chicken in its liquids until the liquid is reduced. Taste at the very end, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Now, you're ready to assemble the enchiladas! First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Since corn tortillas are pretty hard when they come out of the packet, we'll soften them up by lightly frying them in some oil. The idea is to heat them up and let them crisp up a tiny bit, but not until they turn into tortilla shells. Once those are done, set them aside and smother them with enchilada sauce. That's right, we're going to cover them in sauce before rolling up the chicken.
Roll up each tortilla with some chicken in the middle. place them into a deep casserole-like baking dish. When you're done, cover the mixture with the rest of the sauce and stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until warm. Serve immediately with extra sauce, sprinkled queso blanco, refried beans, lettuce, and guacamole!