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A comforting tray bake

Enchiladas rojas with shredded chicken

Enchiladas are actually quite simple to make. It translates to something doused in chile sauce. Oftentimes to make the tortilla pliable and to bring out the flavor of the chile sauce, the tortillas are fried. This version is a bit lighter on the oil front, but still super tasty.

The more I dig into weeknight dinner recipes, the more I notice that these kinds of simplifications or substitutions. They seem to happen for a few reasons. One is obviously when a recipe is brought into another country via migration, substitutions happen for the sake of approximation (or sometimes it even happens that you like it more than the original).

With this recipe, you can see this being applied with the oven-roasted shishito peppers which recall the blistered jalapeños often served with meals in a Mexican cuisine. We simply can't find jalapeños here, but shishito peppers seems to be a staple, and their bitterness is really tasty.

Another reason these substitutions happen is because of busy people finding a way to still eat the foods they love, but in a way that fits their lifestyle. For us that's twofold - we're not big friers. Honestly yes, it's a great way to reduce the fat, and therefore the heaviness of the dish, but more-so, I'm just scared of frying and I always make a huge mess. I don't need that kind of stress in my life right now so these get baked off and that's it.

Serves 3

Ingredients

Enchilada sauce

1/4 onion

3 chile california

1 chile pasilla

1 tsp dried oregano

salt

Shishito peppers

400g shishito peppers

1 tbsp olive oil

salt

Assembly

8 corn tortillas

2 radishes, julienned

1/2 cup low-moisture shredded cheese like emantaller

400g chicken breast

Recipe

STEP 1

Turn the oven to 180°C fan-forced (400°F). To make the chile sauce, put a large pot of water to boil. Add the quarter onion, dried chiles and let the ingredients boil together until the chiles have rehydrated and are soft. In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Once it's boiling, add the chicken breasts and let poach until cooked all the way through.

STEP 2

Drain the chiles and onion. Remove the stems from the chiles and transfer into a blender. Add two cups of fresh water to the blender and blend the sauce. Rinse out the pot used to boil the chiles and transfer the blended chile mixture to that pot. Add the dried oregano and salt and another 2 cups of water. Let simmer.

STEP 3

In a small sheet tray, place the shishito peppers and toss with olive oil and salt. Place in the oven and roast until they've cooked through fully. If some places char, that's just fine. This will take around 20 minutes.

STEP 4

Once the chicken is fully cooked, pull it out of the water and cool. Once it's cool enough to touch, using a fork, shred the chicken into small pieces around 2".

STEP 5

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. To form the enchiladas, place a tortilla on a flat surface. Put a row of chicken inside and roll up into a cigar-like shape. Place on the rimmed tray. Repeat the process with the remainder of the tortillas. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the tray. Sprinkle the cheese over and place in the oven to bake. Bake until the top of the cheese browns, around 15 minutes.

STEP 6

Remove the enchiladas from the oven once browned. Serve topped with the radishes and a side of the roasted shishito peppers.

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MEET YOUR MEAL

Every Sunday evening, I send out a newsletter with the following week's dinner menu, and the seasonal produce featured. The newsletter is free, and I won't share or sell your email address.

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- Julia Feld