I moved to Los Angeles exactly four days after I graduated from college. The only reason I didn’t start my drive West the day after receiving my diplomas: graduation-party-drunken-barefoot-tennis-broken-foot happened. It was my left foot, and I drove an old-school stick shift Pathfinder at the time, like a good Southern gal. So, like any amazing mother would, mine flew to Dallas on a whim to drive my broken ass to L.A. Thank God, as that drive alone is brutal.
Sometimes when I wake up in this magical city, I’m greeted by the sweet sound of birds faintly chirping, as if to wake their friends, but leave us sleepers in peace. It doesn’t bother me; I’m awake anyway from the “hello mommy” coming from the monitor in my son’s room, who’s somewhat patiently waiting at his door for me to swoop in and rescue him from the darkness. It’s an equally welcome sound, in fact, it’s absolutely adorable. It must be nature’s way of making getting up at dawn manageable.
Granted not all days start this way. A few weeks back, I was awoken to what sounded like dead-weighted cats dropping from the sky, massive hail or the apocalypse. It was actually just intense El Nino-like rain, but it was loud. It was massive. And it was so California. Because the day before, it was 83 degrees at 4 pm, clearest skies in weeks, same birds chirping us toward dusk.
This is why I moved to this great state. I am obsessed with it, as it’s newly April yet feels 90% summertime. A perfect opportunity to eat Mexican food, drink a cheap Tecate with fresh lime, and listen to a killer new record or two, currently The 1975 and OMG Rhianna. So good. Nearly as good as enchiladas made at home. Well… maybe better?
Granted, I didn’t make the sauce. I bought what I think is the best easy-to-find enchilada sauce, Hatch Green Chili enchilada sauce, but will soon attempt a copy. And hopefully not fail. Sometimes we need a shortcut.
Besides great weather, this city boasts an incredible array of Mexican restaurants. Given its proximity to the great border country, we better flaunt some terrific tacos, burritos, enchiladas, the works. It’s our duty.
So here’s my attempt…….
This recipe is all ME!
1 medium onion, chopped
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cans Hatch Green Chili Enchilada Sauce (or make your own from scratch)
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or cheddar cheese
6 flour tortillas
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 lime, divided
Tapatillo or your fave hot sauce
In a medium or large Dutch or French oven (or a deep sauce pan), bring two tbsp of olive oil to med/high heat. Add chopped onions and let cook until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken to pot and sear first side for 1 minute. Flip, sear another minute. Add both cans of sauce to pot and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and let cook for 25-30 minutes, flipping and coating the chicken every 7-8 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove chicken from pot and place in a medium bowl. Add about 1 cup of the sauce to the bowl, keeping the rest for later. With two forks, pull chicken apart, shredding until nicely divided. Add 3/4 cup of cilantro and 1 cup of the cheese and combine well.
Grease a baking pan with oil or cooking spray. Fill the 6 tortillas with the chicken mixture and roll up and place in pan. Spray the top of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven.
Add the remaining sauce from the pan to coat the enchiladas. Top with remaining cup of cheese and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and gorgeous.
Top with scallions, sour cream, sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime and hot sauce.