Enchiladas have long been my favorite Mexican food. But it took years for me to attempt to make them myself. Actually it took me moving to London and not having any decent, nearby Mexican restaurants to make them myself. Similar pattern with salsa. It comes in a squeezie bottle at our local Tesco….a squeeze bottle!. Enter my Chicago friend Lisa, who introduced me to this amazing recipe. Now I can get my Mexican fix whenever I like.
Mole is a thick, warm-spiced, chocolate-tinged sauce used in Mexican cooking. Start with onion and garlic, sprinkle in lots of chili powder and some other spices, add chicken stock and let it bubble until it reduces by about 1/3. Then add the magic ingredient – dark chocolate. Trust me, never again will you reach for the Old El Paso jarred enchilada sauce.
This is one of my go-to recipes when I’m feeding a crowd. It makes two large baking dishes worth of enchiladas. That’s 16 individual enchiladas, enough to feed at least 8 people. Especially if you whip up some guacamole and salsa (homemade – no squeezie bottle!) beforehand.
Chicken Mole Enchiladas (8 servings)
Note: For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with black beans. My daughter is vegetarian, so I follow the recipe as is, but swap beans for the chicken in a few of the enchiladas.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
4 1/2 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
2 tablespoons (14 grams) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs (about 6 cups cooked and shredded)
1 1/4 cup (150 grams) drained, sliced green olives (pimiento-stuffed are fine)
1 medium onion, chopped
16 corn tortillas
1 lb (450 grams) grated mild cheddar cheese or Monterey jack cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350º F (175º C).
Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and cinnamon. Cook until onion is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add chili powder and flour and cook for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until reduced to 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes (easiest way to determine that you have 3 cups sauce is to pour it into a heat-proof liquid measuring cup). Remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate. Season with salt and pepper.
While the mole sauce is reducing, place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165º F (74º C).). Set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 375º F (190º C).
Shred the chicken by hand or with two forks and place in a large bowl. Coat the bottom of 2 large baking dishes (e.g. 9″ x 13″ or 23cm x 33cm) with a ladle of mole sauce. Add 3 ladles of mole sauce to the chicken along with the chopped olives and chopped onion. Stir to combine. Divide chicken mixture evenly between two bowls.
Heat a skillet (large enough to fit a tortilla) over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla at a time and cook until just pliable, about 20 seconds per side. Transfer to a towel and keep covered until you have 8 heated tortillas. Place 2 spoonfuls of chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Tightly roll the tortilla around the filling, then lay seam-side down in the baking dish and repeat with the remaining 7 heated tortillas, using half of the chicken mixture.
Heat the other 8 tortillas and fill, as above. Place in the baking dish. Top enchiladas with remaining mole sauce, then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until sauce bubbles, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes then serve. (Note: Tortillas can be filled 1 day ahead, placed in the pan and refrigerated. Refrigerate sauce and cheese separately. When ready to bake, top enchiladas with sauce and cheese and bake for an extra 10 minutes.)
Adapted from Epicurious