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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin and Chicken Enchiladas

I love Mexican food and make several Mexican-inspired meals on a regular basis.  Sloppy "Joses"; Fajitas; black beans, sauteed peppers, onions and zucchini over brown rice w/light cheese and sour cream.  I also make a mean batch of Enchiladas, lighter and healthier. 

Enchiladas don't have to be a no-no meal for you any more!  This is an easy meal to pull together, great for a week night dinner, and utilizes a rotisserie chicken, corn tortillas, light cheese, tomato sauce and pumpkin puree.  Most of these things you may already have in the kitchen and a few of which you should have on hand from here on out!  I like the combination of pumpkin and tomato sauce - it's a natural combo that you might not have considered but I use it a lot.  

A Mexican Seasoning blend that I make is a combination of Cumin, Oregano, Dried Cilantro, Dried Lime Zest, Ancho and Chipotle Chili Powders, Thyme, Ground Black pepper, Ground Onion and Garlic Powders and Ground Bell Peppers.  I make my own, but there are some great blends out there - look for blends without salt, sugar or MSG for the best spices.  Penzeys Spices is a great resource.  

As for beer to add to the sauce, I've been drinking Pumpkin Ales this season - Sam Adams Pumpkin Fest Ale is especially good.  I used the beer to thin the sauce, as it reminded me of this wonderful Pumpkin Chipotle Roasting Sauce from American Spoon.  It's hard to find and kind of expensive.  Well worth making a batch of your own for mere pennies!


Pumpkin and Chicken Enchilada Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce can of Plain Tomato Sauce (preferably no-salt)
  • 1 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 Cup Mexican Spice Blend, Chile Powder or Taco Seasoning
  • 1//2 Cup Pumpkin Ale or other Seasonal Beer Ale/Lager (optional) or 1/4 Cup Water
  • Pinch of Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken - pulled apart and shredded
  • 1 Package of Corn Tortillas (10 to a pack)
  • 1& 1/2 Cups Shredded Mexican/Jack/Cheddar Cheese Blend


Equipment needed:

  • Baking Casserole Dish - 9 x 13

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, Mexican/Taco seasoning, Pumpkin Ale (if using).  Whisk to combine thoroughly.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more seasoning as desired.  If mixture is too thick, thin it a bit w/beer or water, though using a good Pumpkin or October Fest Ale/Lager rocks!
  3. Shred the chicken, removing the bones and skin.  Set aside.
  4. Spoon 1 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish, spreading it out evenly, set aside.
  5. Fill each corn tortilla with some of the shredded chicken and a bit of the shredded cheese, using 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Roll the tortillas up and place, seam side down in the baking dish.  Alternately, you can fill each corn tortilla and place them, bottom side down in the baking dish, like a row of tacos.  Use all ten tortillas and lay them all into the baking dish.
  6. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the prepared tortillas and then top the enchiladas with the remaining shredded cheese.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is thoroughly melted.  Cool slightly before serving.  
  8. Serves 5 - 2 enchiladas per person.  Left-overs will hold for up to 3 days refrigerated in a tightly covered container.  Will reheat best in the oven.  Serve with black beans and a side of sauteed peppers and zucchini to round out the meal.

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