Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce

This is a great destination for leftover chicken or turkey. If you have some on hand, use it instead of the chicken thighs. If you can find Mexican cheese, try queso panela or queso anejo instead of the mozzarella and provolone.

Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce

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  • 1   pound 
    boneless, skinless chicken thighs (to yield about 2 cups shredded cooked meat)
    Salt to taste
    Vegetable oil as needed
  • 12   
    corn tortillas, 6 inches in diameter
    Creamy Tomatillo Sauce
  • 4   ounces 
    (1 cup) grated mozzarella
  • 1 1/3  ounces 
    (1/3 cup) grated provolone
Creamy Tomatillo Sauce
  • 1   pound 
    fresh tomatillos, husks and stems removed, rinsed
  • 2 - 3   
    fresh serrano chiles, cored and seeded, or 1 canned chipotle pepper, seeded
  • 4   
    slices white onion, each 1/4 inch thick
  • 3   
    cloves garlic
  • 2   tablespoons 
    chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2   tablespoons 
    vegetable oil
  • 3   cups 
    chicken broth
  • 3/4  cup 
    creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 3/4  teaspoon 
    salt; more to taste

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken thighs and a bit of salt; simmer until cooked through and tender, about 20 minutes. Cool the meat; shred (discarding any fat or gristle), season with salt, and set aside.
Fill a large skillet with enough oil to submerge a tortilla (between 1/4 and 1/2 inch). Warm the oil over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles immediately. Fry each tortilla briefly in the oil, about 10 seconds per side. Use a spatula rather than tongs to flip the tortillas, as they'll tear easily. The tortilla should stay soft; if it starts to harden, it has been in the oil too long. Drain on paper towels.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. With a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of sauce on both sides of each tortilla. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of shredded chicken just off center of each tortilla and roll into loose cylinders. Set the enchiladas side by side in a 9x13 inch baking dish, pour the remaining sauce over them, top with the cheeses, and bake until bubbling and browned in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.
Creamy Tomatillo Sauce
Position a rack as close to the broiler as possible and heat the broiler. Arrange the tomatillos, fresh chiles (if using), onion slices, and garlic in a small, shallow baking pan. Broil, turning to ensure even cooking, until the tomatillos are soft and slightly blackened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the broiled ingredients to a blender and add the cilantro (if you're using a canned chipotle, add it now, too). Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillo mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the broth and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Taste the sauce. It should be a little tart, but it shouldnt make your mouth pucker. If its too tart, add more broth and simmer until the sauce thickens again. Remove from the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche or heavy cream and the salt. Let cool slightly before making the enchiladas.

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