Friday, May 25, 2012

Best of Both

Garlicky Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
I cannot deny that I'm a meat-eater, but I try and temper my carnivorous tendencies with a healthy respect for where my food comes from. But let's be practical, the efforts to eat meat consciously can get expensive! In order to balance my body's needs with my ethical viewpoints and my budget, I incorporate vegetarian meals several nights per week and find ways to stretch out that package of organic free-range chicken into multiple dinners. This huge, family-feeding dish of chicken enchiladas was made with a single chicken breast. With beans, olives, and lots of oozy cheese on top I think you'll find it to be packed with protein and incredibly satisfying.

- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 c. chicken broth, divided
- 12 oz. jar of medium red salsa
- 3-4 chiles in adobo sauce, diced
- salt and pepper
- 14.5 oz can black beans
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 10-12 small corn tortillas
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 can sliced black olives
- 4 fresh green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 12 oz. can or bottle of your favorite enchilada sauce
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 3 c. grated pepper jack cheese

Season chicken breast on both sides with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring gently for 1-2 minutes until the garlic becomes soft and fragrant. Remove from heat and add jar of red salsa, 1/2 c. chicken broth, chiles in adobo sauce. Mix ingredients together and add chicken breast, making sure it is covered with the sauce. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and reduce to low. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken becomes very tender.

While the chicken is simmering, prepare the tortillas and the black bean filling. Working one tortilla at a time, heat about 2 tsp. of vegetable oil in a small nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas about 30 seconds per side in the hot oil until they become soft. Remove from oil and drain between layers of paper towels. Allow the tortillas to cool before filling.

Drain and rinse can of black beans and pour into a small pot with remaining 1/2 c. of chicken broth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cumin, and chili powder, stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed by the beans. Remove from heat and mash the beans slightly with a wooden spoon.

When the chicken is ready, it will be extremely tender and easily shredded with a pair of tongs and fork. To check the chicken, poke with the tines of a fork, it should be very easily pierced. When chicken is ready, remove from heat and shred, mixing the tenderized meat with the red sauce.

To prepare enchiladas, heat oven to 350˚F. Spritz a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. Fill each tortilla with about a tablespoon of bean mixture topped with about 2 tablespoons of the shredded chicken. Basically you want each tortilla to have an equal distribution of fillings. Top the chicken with a small dollop of sour cream. Roll the filled enchilada and place side-by-side, seam down in the prepared baking dish.

Once all the enchiladas have been placed in the dish, top with an even coating of enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with onions and sliced olives and then top with shredded cheese. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and begins to bubble. Serve enchiladas with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. And of course . . . your favorite cerveza!

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