Chicken enchiladas are a famous, beautiful Mexican dish everyone can cook at home for a lovely weekend meal with family or friends.
If you desire to make your chicken enchiladas associated with the authentic and original flavor, this article will show you how to flavor chicken for enchiladas.
How To Flavor Chicken For Enchiladas?
To make chicken enchiladas, first, you need to flavor the chicken correctly. Here are the things you need to prepare before getting it fully seasoned:
- Shredded boneless skinless chicken breast (or you can use shredded rotisserie or part of the baked chicken to save your preparation time)
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder or sliced fresh garlic
- Chili powder. This is the most crucial ingredient to make the original flavor of chicken enchiladas. The name enchilada itself comes from the Spanish verb “enchilar,” which can be translated to “season with chili.” However, you can choose not to use it if you cannot endure the spicy taste.
If your chicken is still in a big piece after you buy it from the store, consider dicing or shredding it into small pieces. This also makes our seasoning process much easier.
Now, put the shredded (or diced) chicken into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including blended cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, sliced garlic (or garlic powder), and chili pepper.
All of them can be measured by a teaspoon unit or added based on your experience and preferences.
Shake and mix this bowl until the seasoning is absorbed fully. Then, leave it aside for a few hours before cooking it and making the enchiladas sauce.
What Not To Do When Flavoring?
Try to avoid over or under-seasoning.
If you are not so confident about your seasoning experience, then I will suggest a stable formula to follow. For example, for 1.5 pounds of shredded chicken, add 1 teaspoon of cumin, paprika, garlic, salt, and half teaspoon black pepper.
Another reminder is after you have seasoned your chicken, leave it to fully absorb the spices by putting it in the fridge for at least 6 hours or over a night.
Of course, it is still possible for you to cook the chicken after 1 hour of seasoning.
Still, to be honest, that action can make your dish much less delicious and lose a considerable amount of its flavor, in contrast with various ingredients you put in.
Can You Use A Frozen Chicken For This?
For a frozen chicken, you need to do an additional step, which is thawing the frozen chicken (put it in water for 30-60 minutes, or put it in the microwave and turn on defrost mode),
However, a frozen one cannot maintain the freshness and softness of its meat compared to regular chicken.
Therefore, I still suggest you go for fresh boneless skinless chicken breast to enjoy the perfect texture of the meat, as well as the nutrition.
You can also read the information about calories in chicken enchiladas here, using fresh chicken meat.
How Do You Keep Enchiladas Moist?
To keep your enchiladas moist, as they always should be, make sure you add enough sauce. Then, dry the corn tortilla carefully, as you do not want it to suck up all of the sauce, then dip the tortilla into the heated sauce.
You should also spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish before adding the enchiladas in order to make a “bed of moisture” for the enchiladas.
Make sure that the sauce is not too thick so that it can run into the enchiladas smoothly. Just thinning the sauce with a bit of broth or water before rolling the enchiladas and saturating it with sauce.
Add a reasonable amount of olive oil and cheese. Lack of oil while drying can surely result in dryness of the dish overall. You can choose among mozzarella, provolone, or cheddar, or any cheese type that is available in your area for cheese.
Another tip for anyone who loves the moist, cheesy dish is that after adding cheese to your enchiladas which is ready to be put in the oven, cover around the enchiladas with silver foil paper. This can keep the heat inside your food and melt the cheese gradually until it flows all over the enchiladas.
What Can I Substitute For Enchilada Sauce?
The most favorite substitution is taco sauce since it can still make your enchilada a Mexican dish, and it is pretty easy to make.
In a saucepan over low heat, keep stirring tomato sauce, water, vinegar, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, garlic salt, chili powder, paprika, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, which usually takes 20 minutes. Finally, let it cool down a little bit before serving.
Here is a brief video that shows you how to make homemade taco sauce in the easiest, accessible way for even an amateur chef who does not go to the kitchen frequently:
Besides, there are many other substitutions to make a good chicken enchiladas dish, even though they have lost the Mexican signature flavor. Mole, gravy, spaghetti, cheese sauce, queso (cheese sauce with salsa or Rótel Tomatoes added), mushroom soup, or sour cream, all of which are suitable sauces for your dish.
What is the difference between taco sauce and enchilada sauce?
There are some noticeable differences between these 2 kinds of sauce. The irreplaceable components of taco sauce are tomato sauce, paprika, and Cayenne pepper. Meanwhile, for enchilada sauce, you should use tomato paste (much more concentrated and take a longer time to cook), chili powder (instead of paprika as taco sauce), and black pepper.
Another note is that enchiladas require a bit more sauce than tacos, so consider adding some additional liquid to your taco sauce, such as chicken or vegetable broth, to make the most of it.
On the contrary, many people find that taco sauce is way runnier. So if you want to replace enchilada sauce with taco sauce for the chicken dish, just simmer it in a saucepan over low heat to slightly thicken it up.
How to keep my chicken enchiladas from becoming too soggy?
The most crucial trick for preventing soggy enchiladas is to cook your tortillas in hot oil for a few seconds before filling and rolling them. This provides a barrier between the tortillas and the sauce, preventing them from absorbing too much of it and breaking down.
Choose good, fresh corn tortillas, preferably those made from nixtamal and free of preservatives. Then, heat the oil to medium-high heat and fry the tortillas for about 10 seconds on each side, or until they begin to crisp and brown. If you’re worried about too much oil, drain them on paper towels, but don’t worry–they don’t soak up much.
What is the best-canned enchilada sauce?
Here are the five best canned enchilada sauces
- Rosarita Enchilada
- Old El Paso Enchilada
- El Pato Red
- La Victoria Traditional
- Las Palmas
Another thing to keep in mind while buying canned enchilada sauce is choosing between red or green sauce. Red enchilada sauce is made from tomatoes, while the green one is made from green pepper and jalapenos (make the sauce spicier).
After reading this article, you should have grasped some effective ways and tips on how to flavor chicken for enchiladas. This is the most essential step in the overall process of making a good chicken enchiladas dish, requiring careful preparation.
So next time you want to cook chicken enchiladas, remember to follow the above process, and you can enjoy a good meal with family members and friends.
Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.