Fernanda’s Enchiladas Verdes

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Fernanda Manriquez (2011) Graduate of UC Santa Cruz with her mom, Blanca Manriquez

"This is the first dish I ever cooked in college. I had always known that I needed to learn how to cook, if I was going to survive college. When you live in the dorms, you have no other choice but to go to the dining hall or make yourself a cup of noodles. Campus food gets boring and is sometimes just plain nasty. I decided to learn to cook the summer before my third year of college, as I was moving out of the dorms. Turns out that didn’t happen. I didn’t learn how to cook a single dish. I was doomed! None of my housemates knew how to cook either. One day, I decided to ask my mom to help me make green enchiladas. I knew that they weren’t too hard, and I could make enough for everyone. I set the date to cook the enchiladas for my housemates. My mom had sent me the recipe, and there was no turning back.  I cooked the enchiladas with my parents giving me step-by-step instructions via Skype. It was such a great experience. Even though my family wasn’t physically with me, they supported me through my first time cooking. And my enchiladas turned out delicious, if I might say so myself. I’ve cooked them so many times now, even for my parents. They are definitely a success." -Fernanda, January 2016   INGREDIENTS One full boneless, skinless chicken breast              3 serrano chile peppers 3 garlic cloves                                                               ¼ cup chopped cilantro 1  white onion, chopped                                              1 cup grated Mexican cheese or white cheddar cheese 2 tsp of salt                                                                    16-18 corn tortillas 10 tomatillos                                                                 Vegetable oil for frying Sour cream   PREPARATION Put chicken breast in a medium sized saucepan and just cover with water. Add one clove of garlic that has been peeled and cut in half, 1/4 of the chopped onion, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cook covered, for 20 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken and place in a separate bowl to cool. While the chicken is cooking, put the tomatillos (about 10) and 3 serrano chile peppers in a separate sauce pan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatillos are cooked, and have changed color, but are not mushy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer tomatillos and serranos to a blender. Add 1/2 cup of the tomatillo cooking liquid to the blender, as well as 2 cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup of chopped onion and blend. Drain the pepper seeds from the liquid, then put it back into the blender and add about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (packed). Add one teaspoon of salt. Purée until completely blended, 15 to 30 seconds. Taste for heat. If not spicy enough add another chile pepper (doesn't have to be cooked). Note that sour cream will be added as a garnish which will cool down a lot of the spiciness. Add more salt to taste if necessary. Pour sauce into a skillet and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat. Shred the chicken breast with a fork or knife. Place it in a bowl and have it ready to start making the enchiladas. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Add a tortilla to the pan and use a metal spatula to flip it to the other side. When the tortillas are heated through, remove them to a plate lined with paper towel. Add a little more oil to the pan, and add another couple tortillas. Continue to heat through and soften all of the tortillas. Note that if you are using just made tortillas you can skip this step, because they will already be hot, softened, and ready to eat. Dip a tortilla in the salsa verde tomatillo sauce, and place it into a baking dish. Scoop a spoonful of chicken into the center of the tortilla and roll up the tortilla, repeat with all of the tortillas or as many as you are making.  Put into the oven on low heat to keep the enchiladas warm while you make another set of stuffed tortillas. Heat the salsa verde sauce again until simmering, then remove from heat. Remove the warming enchiladas from the oven and pour more salsa verde sauce over all of them. Top with chopped onion, cheese, and cilantro. Serve immediately with extra garnishes of onion and sour cream on top.