I can remember the first time I had Enchiladas quite clearly. Well ok, I couldn’t tell you when it was or even where it was, but I still remember the moment. My parents had taken us to an American-style diner for dinner and, as you can imagine, there were plenty of Tex-Mex options on the menu.
I’ve been trying to remember which restaurant it was as I write this. There’s a possibility it was TGI Fridays. Though as our nearest was about 45 minutes away and we kept forgetting how to get there I suspect it wasn’t. (In the end we clearly marked it in the AA road atlas we kept in the car to save driving aimlessly around southern Hampshire).
More likely it was at a local rip-off version called Calenders, which opened at Tower Park in Poole when I was about 9. If you didn’t see the name you’d think it was a TGI Fridays. Dark wood finish? Check. Cheers-style Bar in the middle that kids weren’t allowed anywhere near? Absolutely. Excessive use of Tiffany-style lampshades? You know it!
Even the food followed the same template, offering a mixture of burgers, fried chicken and a wide range of Tex-Mex inspired options. At the time I would say that I’d lived a relatively sheltered life when it comes to food. Not because we weren’t adventurous but because we lived in Dorset. In the 1980s. Not exactly a cutting edge location for anything. So, seeing things like Fajitas, Burritos, Chimichangas and Enchiladas on a menu was mind-blowing. Now they’re very much commodity food items, especially if you live near a branch of Chiquito.
Although we have Fajitas at home quite often (which gives me an excuse to plug my Fajita Chicken recipe) we rarely have the others. I was like a little child as I was making these Chicken & Rice Enchiladas. Excited to see if they’d turn out as well as I’d hoped. As you can see I needn’t have worried – they were spot on.
The filling for these Enchiladas is a mixture of lightly spiced chicken and vegetable rice. I’ve kept them deliberately mild, so they’re family-friendly. You can always slather them with hot sauce once they’re on your plate if you feel the need for a chilli kick. The filled tortillas are covered with a quick tomato sauce and plenty of cheese, before being baked until warmed through.
I think that this recipe is enough to feed four hungry adults, or a raft of children. They are unsurprisingly rather filling and a bit of salad on the side should be more than enough. Even so, they still come in at only 715 calories per serving.
Chicken & Rice Enchiladas
For the Marinated Chicken
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1½, tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Garlic
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Light Brown Sugar
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 500 g Chicken Breast cut into 1cm chunks
For the Tomato Sauce
- 400 g TInned Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Cumin
- Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For the Rice
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Red Onion peeled and chopped
- 1 Red Pepper deseeded and chopped
- 1 Yellow Pepper deseeded and chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 250 g Rice
- 500 ml Chicken Stock
For the Enchiladas
- 8 Flour Tortillas
- 100 g Grated Cheese I used a mixture of cheddar and hard mozzarella
- Start by marinating the chicken. Mix together the spices, salt, sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl or zip-lock bag. Add in the chicken and mix until well coated. Cover (or seal the bag) then allow to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. Pour the chopped tomatoes into a bowl and crush a little with the back of a wooden spoon. Sprinkle in the herbs, spices and seasoning and then mix until fully combined. Cover and put to one side until needed.
- When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- To cook the rice, start by heating the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add in the chopped peppers and stir into the onions, then allow to cook for a further minute or two. Add the garlic to the pan and fry for a further minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the uncooked rice and stir through the vegetables, then pour over the stock. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Cook until the rice is cooked through and the liquid absorbed.
- Whilst the rice is cooking heat a splash more oil in a separate pan then fry the chicken, in batches if needed, until browned on the outside and cooked through.
- When the rice is cooked remove from the heat and stir in the cooked chicken. Allow to cool enough for you to handle the mixture.
- Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in the oven for a few minutes, until warmed and more flexible.
- Spoon the chicken and rice mixture into the middle of each tortilla, then tuck in the ends and roll like burritos. You can find plenty of videos for how to do this online.
- Lay out the filled tortillas in an oiled casserole, then pour over the tomato sauce. Top with grated cheese then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until heated through and the cheese has melted and turned golden.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||7||g|
|of which Sugars||8||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|