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Layered Green Enchiladas

Slightly stale corn tortillas will retain their shape better than soft, fresh ones in this dish. If you have only fresh ones, let them stand uncovered at room temperature for about 8 hours. If you are pressed for time, put them directly on the oven racks for about 10 minutes while the oven preheats.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cans (each 28 oz.) tomatillos, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped grilled chicken meat (see related recipe at left)
  • 15 corn tortillas, slightly stale
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Make the tomatillo sauce
Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a food processor, add the tomatillos and cilantro, and process until pureed.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and then the tomatillo sauce. Bring to a boil and cook briskly until the sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Assemble the enchiladas
In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat, sauté the chicken just until warm, about 3 minutes.

Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup of the tomatillo sauce into the dish. Line the dish with 5 of the tortillas in an even layer, tearing them as needed to fit. Sprinkle with half of the chicken and 3/4 cup of the cheese, then spread with one-third of the remaining sauce. Repeat with 5 more tortillas, the remaining chicken, 3/4 cup of the cheese and half of the remaining sauce. Finish with the remaining tortillas, sauce and cheese. Pour the cream evenly over the top.

Bake the enchiladas
Bake until the cheese melts and starts to brown, and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Grilling, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2007).