Roasted Chicken + Smoked Gouda Enchiladas w/Fire Roasted Tomatillo Cranberry Sauce.
I know. I know. Did I really just add cranberries to enchiladas?
Yes, I did.
BUT hear me out because I promise, THESE are worth it.
Here’s the deal, I have been wanting to make some enchiladas w/fire roasted tomatillo cranberry sauce for forever. Ok, or at least for the last two-weeks, but I kept putting it off because I really just did not have an idea that sounded all that awesome (only awesomeness goes up on the site!). That is until I started stocking up on fresh cranberries. Then, like happens with all my favorite recipes, the name fire roasted tomatillo cranberry sauce came into my thoughts.
I LOVE when this happens. If I get a name that sounds good, I am golden. I build the recipe around the name. It’s a little odd, but I don’t know, it works for me sometimes.
I am really into cranberries at the moment. I think it is because up until last year I had never actually had fresh cranberries. Just the dried, sugared cranberries. I know, this is crazy.
I mean, what about cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving? Yeah, well I was brought up to think that cranberry sauce was no good and that I should really just focus on the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. Although, I never really liked gravy growing up. I mean, I think it’s awesome now, but as a kid, I never took any gravy. What was wrong with me? I missed out on some of the most delicious parts to Thanksgiving for so many years. Ugh. I guess I will just have to make up for it in Thanksgiving’s to come.
Sounds pretty good.
I realize that I may be jumping the gun a week or two by posting these now. I probably should have waited until after Thanksgiving for such a festive looking recipe, but my new motto is PLAN in advance. Plus, cranberries are only in season for just a couple of months, I figure I should use em up well I can. You know?
And well, with November literally being 3 days away, this means the start of easy, make ahead holiday meals. Clearly, this dish should be at your next family dinner, dinner party or small gathering. They are kind of perfect for all three.
Let’s just list off all the pros of this recipe, shall we? I think we shall.
1.) Simple ingredients and minimal time in the kitchen. The chicken gets roasted during the same time as the tomatillos, cranberries and garlic making this a fairly quick meal. Once the chicken is done, you are going to want to “fire roast” the tomatillos under the broiler to give them a nice char. It’s adds that smoky fire roasted flavor without actually standing over a fire and roasting them…ahh, but I just have to say that right now standing over a hot fire sounds so nice. It’s cold and snowy and a hot blazing fire sounds soo good.
2.) These are actually a pretty healthy meal with the lean chicken, corn tortillas, tomatillos, fresh cranberries and garlic. Lots of nutrient dense foods going on. Gotta love that this time of year.
3.) These are the picture perfect, make ahead meal. Prep everything in advance and then either place in the fridge to be baked within a few days or cover tightly and freeze for up to two months. Just thaw them in the fridge overnight and bake as directed the next day. Easy peasy.
4.) The presentation of these enchiladas is pretty perfect for both November and December (just thinkin ahead so you don’t have to). I mean look at those pretty red cranberries. I cannot get enough.
5.) They are a huge hit. Like huge. Even the brothers ate them. That’s the truest test there is. Oh but, if you have picky eaters, make sure the sauce is completely smooth and I wouldn’t add any fresh cranberries onto the top after baking to make the dish look pretty. That does not fly with picky eaters. They just want to see the cheese. Can’t blame um though, cheese is always a good thing to see.
In case you are wondering, the Tomatillo Cranberry Sauce does not taste like grandmas cranberry sauce. It’s spicy, just like any enchilada sauce should be. You can tone the spicy down or bump up, but I like it just the way I have it written. The cranberries offset the spiciness perfectly and when combined with smoked gouda cheese? Well, it’s just really good.
I highly recommend adding a side of spanish rice to complete the meal. In my head, no enchilada recipe is complete without some rice. Gotta have the rice.
I guess you could do a salad, but then again, maybe not. I mean, we all really just want the rice and isn’t their enough health in the tomatillo cranberry sauce? I think so.
Oh my gosh or better yet, to your side of rice, add a big fat bowl of gauc and a big fat pile of tortilla chips. Get the blue corn flax-seed ones from Target so we can all tell ourself what a healthy balanced meal we are having.
Yes, DO THAT.
Brown Sugar Roasted Chicken Enchiladas w/Fire Roasted Tomatillo-Cranberry Sauce.
Brown Sugar Roasted Chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons butter softened (or olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup smoked gouda cheese shredded
- 16-20 corn tortillas
- 1 chopped jalapeno juice of 1 lime, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and cotija cheese, for serving
Fire Roasted Tomatillo-Cranberry Sauce
- 2 pounds tomatillos
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries plus 1/2 cup chopped cranberries, for garnishing
- 4 cloves garlic skins on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 in chipotle chilies adobo use 1 for less heat
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk or cream
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- In a small bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika and pinch of salt + pepper. Rub the chicken all over with the butter mixture and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- During the same time you are roasting the chicken, roast the ingredients for the sauce. Peel the papery skins away from your tomatillos. Place the tomatillos, cranberries and garlic on a separate roasting pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the cranberries burst. Once the cranberries have burst, remove the cranberries AND garlic from the pan, leaving only the tomatillos on the roasting pan.
- Turn the oven to broil and broil ONLY the tomatillos until lightly charred all over, about 2-3 minutes. Allow the tomatillos to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Now, remove the garlic clove skins from the cooled garlic.
- Add the tomatillos, cranberries, peeled garlic cloves, chipotle chilies, tomato paste, honey and chicken broth to a food processor or blender, puree until mostly smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season liberally with salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thickened slightly. Stir in the coconut milk or cream. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro, taste and season with salt if needed.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken with two forks, or your hands, and add to a bowl with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and half cup smoked gouda cheese.
- Once the sauce is ready, pour about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup over the chicken and toss well.
- Microwave the tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla. Fold over the filling, place the enchiladas in the prepared pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Garnish the enchiladas with fresh chopped cranberries, cilantro, diced jalapeños, chopped cilantro and cotija cheese if desired. Serve with warm Spanish rice.
Because you need these… with a side of chips + guac.