One of my favorite Mexican breakfasts is huevos divorciados. Don’t take the title too literally; it means something more along the lines of “separated” with one egg covered in (red) chile tomato sauce and the other in a (green )salsa verde. Friends jokingly discussed if it was bad luck to order them during breakfast at Café Corazon the day after their wedding. I like to think that while the two eggs are separated by their sauces, and sometimes sides, that they represent the two different people joining together to become more than the sum of their parts. Besides, they are no longer separate once they hit your stomach.
We still had a half pack of corn tortillas leftover from the beach trip. Tortillas freeze fairly well, but with the leftover salsa verde I thought whipping up some enchiladas would be more fun. And, since there wasn’t enough salsa verde to cover an entire pan of enchiladas, a great solution was to cover the other half with red sauce; hence “divorciados”. I had all the ingredients for chile sauce in my pantry: dried new mexico chilis, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, cumin…Honestly, making it from scratch is no big deal on the weekend, but on a weeknight? Off to the store!
While I like to shop in places that sell local products, sometimes the chain store nearby is my best option on a weeknight. Two of our local chain stores have really improved their organic, pesticide free, preservative free, and added hormone free selections over the last couple of years. I want them to keep offering these products, so when I’m there picking up non organic items (things like low carb tortillas and low sugar ketchup) I can grab stuff like an 8 oz package of rBST free queso blanco cheese from Valle de Cava as well as Rick Bayless’ Frontera Kitchens Enchilada Sauce. (I’ve found Frontera products to be reliably
good, preservative free and generally use the same ingredients I’d use in my own cooking. Note that this bottled enchilada sauce is not vegetarian.) Tips for making the dish vegetarian or low carb, and for using leftover chicken in place of cooking it fresh, can be found at the end of the recipe.
Chicken Enchiladas Divorciados
Makes a large pan, about 14 medium sized enchiladas, or 8-10 larger ones.
1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken, thigh or breasts or a mixture.
1 cup of prepared salsa (for cooking chicken)
½ a medium onion, sliced
1-2 bell peppers, sliced [Use whatever vegetables are seasonal: zucchini and chard, winter squash and mushrooms, for example.]
8 oz of shredded cheese, something that melts like jack, cheddar, quesadilla cheese, or queso blanco
1 – 1.5 cups red chile enchilada sauce
1 – 1.5 cup salsa verde [If you prefer not to make it with both salsas, use 2-3 cups of what you have on hand. After making it the first time, I thought a little more sauce was in order.]
12-14 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for brushing tortillas and sautéing onions and peppers.
Up to two days before: poach chicken for about 20-30 minutes by simmering in prepared salsa with a small amount of water added. You can also do this in a slow cooker/crockpot but reduce or eliminate the water if you do so. Cool, shred or chop the chicken and return it to the cooking liquid/salsa.
Sauté the peppers and onions in a small amount of oil, a Tablespoon or less. Cool.
Pour ½ to ¾ cup of green sauce on the bottom of ½ the length of a large baking or roasting pan (such as you would use for lasagna). Put ½ to ¾ cup of red on the bottom of
the neighboring side so the bottom is covered.Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Brush corn tortillas on each side with vegetable oil and place on a cookie sheet. It’s ok to overlap them so they all fit on one pan. The oil with help to keep them pliable and moist as you roll and bake the enchiladas. Heat the tortillas for 3 minutes in the oven uncovered. Remove and stack to keep warm while you roll.
Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees for baking the pan of enchiladas.
Set up your tortillas, cheese, pepper/onion mixture, and chicken in sauce in an assembly line fashion on the kitchen counter with your pan at the end ready for your rolled enchiladas. Take one warm tortilla; sprinkle a tablespoon of cheese, a few slices of
pepper/onion, and a few tablespoons of chicken. You should be able to roll the
tortilla around the ingredients so that the ends of the tortilla are tucked under like in the pictures here. I use my hands. Any remaining ingredients that don’t fit in a tortilla will go in the baking pan, so no worries about cheese, mixed in with chicken, mixed in with peppers, etc.
Place rolled enchiladas in the pan one next to the other down the middle of the baking pan. When you run out if space you can tuck the last 4, two on each side. Pour the remaining red sauce down one side and green sauce down the other. Enchiladas in the middle row should be half red and half green. Sprinkle the top with any remaining veggies, chicken and cheese. Bake 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Vegetarian tip: skip the chicken and sauté more veggies such as spinach, Chard, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and/or winter squash. Add some prepared salsa and cilantro for zing. Alternately you could also use refried black or pinto beans in place of the chicken. Figure at least one 15 oz can or the equivalent of beans plus some additional veggies. Frontera Kitchen enchilada sauce is not vegetarian, but many others are; be sure to check the label.
Chicken tip: You can use leftover roast chicken or a rotisserie chicken in place of the poached chicken. Take it off the bone. Dice or shred the meat, add about ¾ cup of prepared salsa, stir and let sit for at least 30 minutes so the flavors absorb.
Make it easy tip: don’t roll: use the corn tortillas like lasagna noodles and layer the sauce, tortillas, veggies, cheese and chicken. Make sure to leave enough sauce and a sprinkling of cheese for the top. Bake until heated through. May take 30 minutes depending on depth.
Lower carb tip: each corn tortilla has about 9.5 carbs, but you typically end up eating two for 19 net carbs (plus carbs in the other ingredients). Low carb flour tortillas such as Mission Carb Balance, Mama Lupes, or La Tortilla Factory have 7-8 carbs each, but are larger: a single one would fill the baking dish side to side and is enough for one serving. 8-10 would fill the whole pan.
Low carb/no grain option: eliminate the tortillas entirely. Layer the ingredients, sauce,
veggies, cheese and chicken making sure to leave enough sauce and a sprinkling of cheese for the top. Bake unitl hot.