I made one of my favorite things tonight: Chicken Enchiladas a la El Azteco. El Azteco, or “El Az” as it reverently called, is a tex-mex restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan, home of Michigan State University. When I attended MSU back in the stone age, El Az was a dingy basement restaurant on M.A.C. St., which is off of Grand River Ave., right across from the Student Union. Now, El Az is a full-fledged 2 story restaurant about a half a block from its old location that features rooftop dining and pretty much the same wonderful food that I enjoyed 30 something years ago.
They had 2 kinds of chicken enchilada. One had a red sauce, and it was okay. The other was called “chili verde” and a green and white sauce (get it? green and white? MSU?) that was hotter. That’s the one I liked. I found a recipe on the internet that is allegedly from an ex-employee of El Az. It sounded completely crazy, but when I made it, well, that was it! Here’s the recipe. It makes way too much food, so you can cut the recipe in half, or better, just freeze half of the sauce and chicken for future eating.
1. Chicken. You need a mess of chicken, like 4-5 pounds. So I used thighs because of, you know, the cheapness, and they have a lot of flavor. Boil the chicken until tender. It’s best to boil with some celery, carrots, onions, and tomato paste, but you don’t have to. When it’s done, shred it with 2 forks and put it in a bowl.
2. The sauce. Chop off the stems from 10-12 jalapenos. You can remove the seeds and pith from the peppers if you want a milder sauce, or leave them in for a hotter sauce, or remove half of them for a medium sauce. Put the peppers in a food processor and process. You need 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. No, wait! Don’t go away. I know It sounds nuts, but work with me here. Add the 2 cans of soup to the peppers, then add a 16 ounce container of sour cream. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons or so of cumin depending on your level of cumin love, and a 1/2 cup of water. Stir.
Heat a corn tortilla in pan & flip it over so it’s soft. put in a little chicken and some shredded cheese and roll it up like a fat cigar. Put it in a baking dish. Do this many times until the pan is full. Spoon the sauce over the enchiladas and cover with grated cheese. You can put some scallions on top if you want. Then bake at 350 until the cheese starts to brown. Eat the enchiladas. Yum!