Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas & Stacked Casserole

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.
Rick Bayless has a few wonderful recipes for red enchiladas and I chose a recipe with chicken,  I brined then roasted a tequila, lime, and seasoned chicken, pulled and shredded the meat, and added a bit more enchilada sauce for the filling.  A roasted chicken from your local market or poached chicken breast will do nicely, but be sure to season the chicken.
To a basic whole chicken brine I added a tablespoon each of my chicken and rib rubs plus a pinch of smoked paprika, brined for 4-6 hours.

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken
Adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

4 medium (about 1 oz. total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into flat pieces*
2 fat garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. canola oil, plus extra for the tortillas
2 cups chicken broth and *optional 1/4 cup tequila
12 corn tortillas*
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 generous cups (about 8 oz.) coarsely shredded cooked chicken*
1 cup Mexican cheese blend or 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican melting cheese like Chihuahua, quesadilla, or asadero
1 small red or white onion, cut into rings, for garnish (optional)
Cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Set a small or medium skillet over medium heat and once it’s hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them against the hot surface with a spatula until aromatic and lightened in color underneath–about 10 seconds per side. Transfer the toasted chiles to a blender, and add the garlic, tomatoes and juices, cumin and black pepper. Blend to as smooth a consistency as possible.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Set a mesh strainer over the pan and pour in the sauce. Press through the strainer to remove bits of chile skin. Then cook, stirring until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, 10 or so minutes.* Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium low and summer for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with sugar and salt (Bayless says about 1.5 tsp. but I used closer to .5 tsp).

Brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil and then stack in twos on a baking sheet. Bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish, and stir another 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken. Lay out a warm tortilla, top with a portion of the chicken, some grated Mexican cheese blend and roll up. Lay seam side down in the baking dish. Continue filling and rolling the rest of the tortillas and ladle the remaining sauce over the enchiladas* and sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake 10-15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. Garnish with onion rings and cilantro if desired.
The stacked casserole is simply layers of sauce, tortillas, the chicken and onions baked in a 1-1/2 casserole for 20-30 minutes and served with your favorite enchilada garnishes.
Second layer top with Tortillas & Sauce, Bake
Topolo Maragaritas ~ Makes about 3 cups, serving 6 from One Plate at a Time


3/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 3 large limes 6 tablespoons sugar 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons blanco tequila 1/4 cup Gran Torres orange liqueur Lime wedges Coarse salt About 1 1/2 cups small (or coarsely broken) ice cubes.

Make limeade. Combine the lime juice, sugar and 1 cup water in a glass or plastic pitcher.  Cover and refrigerate if not using right away (but no longer than 24 hours). Finish and serve margaritas.   Add the tequila and orange liqueur to the pitcher of limeade.  Rub the rims of 6 martini glasses with a lime wedge, then dip them in a dish of coarse salt.  In a large shaker, combine the half of the margarita mixture with half of the ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture.