Can’t Compete with Mom

One of my earliest memories of eating green chile was my mom’s green chile chicken enchiladas.  Although I did not have an appreciation for green chile at the time, they were loaded with chicken and cheese, and what kid does not love that??  As my tastes matured, I began to appreciate the chile, but the kid in me still loves the chicken and cheese.  This week I’ve taken my mom’s recipe for Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas and added a few AlbuKirky improvements.
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
The first thing I needed for my enchiladas was chicken. I started with a spatchcocked chicken, then rubbed it with a nice jalapeño infused olive oil and seasoned it with some of my green chile rub.  Once it was seasoned, it was off to the smoker.  I smoked this bird over mesquite charcoal at 250º for about 2 hours.  To ensure my chicken is done I take two temperatures, one on the breast and one in the thigh, both temps should be 160º. Usually if the thigh is 160, the breast will be a little hotter but that’s okay.  When the chicken was done, I took it off the smoker, let it cool, and then pulled the meat from the bones.

Smoked Chicken
Here’s the dirty little secret to my green chile enchilada sauce, cream of mushroom soup.  Now, I ‘m not cheating by using mushroom soup. I’ve eaten a lot of enchiladas in my day and I can tell you there’s a lot of cooks and restaurants that use it, although they will never openly admit it. The sauce for the enchilada is really simple; one large can of cream of mushroom chicken soup, 2-3 cups of chopped fresh green chile and ½ cup of heavy cream.  Once you mix in 3 cups of hot green chile and ½ cup of heavy cream you’ll never notice the mushroom soup. I mixed all ingredients together in a large bowl, I did not heat it in saucepan, but you can if you want.

Building the Enchilada
I gathered the remaining ingredients…a pound of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a package of corn tortillas, now it was time to start assembling.  I start with a spoonful of sauce and spread it all over the bottom of the casserole dish; this will keep the tortillas from over cooking and sticking to the bottom of the pan. I like to tear the tortillas into pieces and layer them over the sauce.  The next layer is sauce, chicken and then cheese.  Repeat, tortilla, sauce, chicken, cheese until you run out of sauce or you dish is full. Now, just pop it into a 350º for one hour. Once it’s done baking I like to broil the top for a few minutes to get that top layer of cheese browned and slightly crunchy.

Layers of Flavors
Once the top of the enchiladas is a beautiful golden brown, I pull them from the oven and catch a whiff of the sweet green chiles.  With my big spoon I scoop out a heaping helping of my cheesy chile creation onto my waiting plate.  I can smell the fresh roasted green chile and chicken and it’s freaking amazing.  The moment of truth; the first bite.  The cheese, chile and chicken have all melded together into a creamy sauce that has been absorbed by the corn tortillas.  The chicken is perfect. Roasting it on the grill adds just enough smoke for a subtle layer of flavor. Of course there’s the green chile, I can taste its spicy sweet flavor in every bite. 

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada hot from the oven.
This week I have taken one of my mom’s recipes and put my personal spin on it.  I added smoked chicken, hot green chile and heavy cream.  But no matter what I do it does not compete with mom’s.  There is no smoker or spice combination that can match the magical flavors of a mother’s love and a child’s memories.

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