Saag Chicken Enchiladas

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Hello again Masalitos!

Due to technical difficulties, we haven't been able to bring you new recipes for a while. Sorry about that! 

Now that we're back, I thought it would be a good idea to share one of my favorite fusion comfort food recipes - Saag Chicken Enchiladas! If you've ever been to  an Indian restaurant, you've probably seen Saag Paneer on the menu. Saag Paneer is delicious Indian cheese in a creamy green sauce (most likely spinach, sometimes with other greens). For this recipe, I decided to use my version of that creamy sauce as a topper for chicken enchiladas. Let me tell you, this is a perfect recipe for a cold day. Don't be intimidated by the long ingredient list, this recipe is quite easy to make.

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A simple way to make this recipe a bit faster is to make it the day after you make soup. The day before cooking these enchiladas, I made minestrone in my slow cooker and added the chicken drumsticks needed for this recipe. Two birds with one stone, my minestrone cooked with homemade broth and I didn't have to cook chicken from scratch the next day.

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You will notice the ingredient list calls for uncooked flour tortillas (pictured above).  The reason I'm bolding uncooked is because cooked flour tortillas that you can buy at the supermarket are... how should I put this?.... hmmm, I guess the word that I'm looking for is disgusting. I'd like to make the disclaimer that my grandma made THE best homemade tortillas so I can't tolerate a bad tortilla, but even if you are used to eating the pre-cooked tortillas, I highly recommend that you look for uncooked tortillas and cook them yourself (let's be real, making them from scratch is not for everyone). The instructions for cooking them can be found on the bag. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the best ones that I've found are from H.E.B. (aka: my happy place). Funny story: my mom came to visit and brought me like a dozen bags of frozen HEB tortillas because she knows I can't live without them - can you imagine her tortilla-filled cooler going through the TSA xray machine at the airport? too funny! If you're not lucky enough to live in Texas, most supermarkets will offer a version of these. I've tried Tortilla Land, they're OK, but they're quite large so I would suggest to adjust the serving size from 3 to 2 enchiladas per person. Alternatively, you can use corn tortillas.

I served the enchiladas on a bed of roasted vegetables (eggplant, bell pepper, celery, carrot, onion). The side dish is very simple to make, if you'd like me to post a quick recipe for it, let me know.  I hope you enjoy these saag chicken enchiladas as much as we do. Buen provecho!

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Ingredients (4 servings)

- 1 lb chicken drumsticks

- 12 uncooked flour tortillas

- 16 oz uncooked spinach

-  ½ white onion, diced

- 1 serrano pepper (optional)

- 3 garlic cloves, peeled

- 1 large tomato, cut into large pieces

- 12 slices pepperjack cheese

- ½ tablespoon garam masala

- ½ teaspoon cumin powder

- ½ teaspoon red chili powder

- ½ tablespoon turmeric powder

- 1 teaspoon cilantro powder (optional)

- 1 teaspoon ginger paste

- ½ to 1cup heavy whipping cream (depending on desired creaminess)

- 1 tablespoon butter

- 1 tablespoon onion

- Salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions

1. Boil the chicken drumsticks until fully cooked. Remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken. 

2. While the chicken is cooking, fry the onion in oil until slightly brown. Add ginger paste (mind the splatter), garlic cloves and fry for a minute. Decrease the heat to low and add the garam masala powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Cook for 30-45 seconds. You will notice a difference in the smell, it should smell pleasant, not burned. Turn the heat off.

3. In a food processor or blender, puree the seasoned onions,12 oz of spinach, tomato, coriander powder, serrano pepper, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add half a cup of water or chicken broth if necessary.

4. In the same deep sautee pan used for frying the onions, heat the blended spinach and butter using medium high heat.  Stir constantly until bubbles start to form, then lower the heat and simmer until the color has changed to dark green, stirring occasionally.  Add heavy cream slowly while stirring, until the sauce is fully combined. You can adjust the amount of cream based on your desired creaminess. Do not used low/non-fat milk, it will curdle.

5. While simmering the sauce, pre-heat a griddle at medium-high heat. Cook the flour tortillas and keep them warm in a tortilla warmer, it is important that they stay warm to keep them pliable.

6. Cut the cheese slices into thirds and arrange them lengthwise on a tortilla. Add 4 uncooked spinach leaves on top of the cheese. Add 2-3 tablespoons of shredded chicken on top of the spinach. Roll the tortilla and repeat.

7. Pour spinach sauce over the rolled enchiladas and enjoy!

I served these on a bed of roasted vegetables (eggplant, bell pepper, celery, carrot, onion). Other options for sides include rice and beans. 

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Posted on December 7, 2014 and filed under Main Dishes.