I love cooking with the oven. While stovetop endeavors are exciting, I much prefer whipping something together, putting it into a casserole dish, and baking it. This predilection may be due to my foundation as a baker, or perhaps, because I am inherently lazy. While the oven is working it’s magic, I can relax with my family and friends, enjoy some cheese and bread, and sit by the fire. This recipe is among my all time favorites; its creamy enough for winter, light enough for summer, and so delicious that I make it all year round. It is my ultimate comfort food. It is also immensely adaptable; last time I made it, I used leftover turkey instead of chicken. The flavors can be adjusted for your preferred heat level.
Avocado Chicken Enchiladas (serves 3-4)
Avocado Cream Sauce:
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, peeled and diced
- 2 large sweet peppers, diced
- 6 medium size multigrain tortillas
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, turkey, or your preferred protein
- 1 packet taco seasoning, or, make your own (I like this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-i/)
- 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Note: This recipe is great for using up leftover cooked chicken or turkey, but if you are cooking chicken specifically for this recipe, I suggest you use boneless chicken thighs.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- To make the avocado cream sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When fully melted and bubbling, add the flour slowly. Whisk the mixture (called a roux) until it is golden and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Add the broth in a slow stream, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Bring to almost a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, whisking to remove lumps. Take the pan off of the heat and, with a heat-proof spatula, scrape all of the sauce into your food processor. Before blending, add the avocado, lime juice, and cilantro to the food processor. Pulse or blend until smooth, making sure to remove the lid carefully every once and a while to let the heat escape! Taste your sauce, and correct with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- If chicken is already cooked and shredded, heat 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the chicken with the taco seasoning in a large bowl, then add to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until pieces begin to become crispy and all have been heated through. Remove the chicken from a pan, and return to the bowl you tossed it in.
- If chicken is raw, marinate chicken thighs in lime juice, olive oil, and taco seasoning (homemade or bought) for a couple of hours. Cook your chicken in a skillet with olive oil, and shred it after it has cooled.
- If your skillet is dry, add some more butter or olive oil. Add the onions and peppers to the empty skillet and sautee until both are soft, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and place veggies in a bowl.
- Now all of your components are ready! I like to make a sort of assembly line, with my tortillas in the center, chicken and veggies to my left, and the shredded cheese, cream sauce and casserole dish to my right. To assemble, spread a tablespoon or two of the sauce down the middle of a tortilla. Add a scoop of veggies, a handful of chicken, and a sprinkling of cheese. Roll the tortilla and place, seam side down, into the casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, trying to use up all of the chicken and veggies, but leaving at least half of the cream sauce and the cheese.
- Drizzle the rest of the sauce evenly over the casserole dish, using a spatula to spread it out over every inch of the tortillas.They should be borderline drowned in the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese on top has browned and the any visible edges of the tortillas are golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish plates with additional cilantro, cheese, red onion, and lime slices.
By: Martha Biddle
Martha is a student at Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts where she is majoring in psychology and the study of women and gender. Martha is an avid baker and knitter. You can follow her on Instagram at @mbiddle3 and explore her crafty side on Esty at her store MidKnitBlues.
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