What’s for Dinner Tonight: An easy spin on chicken enchiladas from America’s Test Kitchen

From El Paso to Beaumont, Texans love enchiladas, and every family has their favorite way to make them.

At America’s Test Kitchen, they’ve published plenty of from-scratch enchilada sauces, most of which require a blender, a food processor or a multi-step cooking process, but this recipe is a little different.

This version, from longtime America’s Test Kitchen recipe developers Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster, uses tomato sauce and dried chili powder and other spices instead of the whole, dried peppers you’d find in a classic red chile sauce.

The recipe comes from a book that published last year called “Cooking at Home With Bridget & Julia: The TV Hosts of America’s Test Kitchen Share Their Favorite Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends” (America’s Test Kitchen, $35) by Lancaster and Davison, whom you’ll see often on “America’s Test Kitchen,” the TV show that airs locally several times a day on KLRU Create.

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Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup jarred jalapeños, chopped
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, sugar and salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken and coat thoroughly with spices. Stir in tomato sauce and water, bring to simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into bowl, pressing on chicken and onion to extract as much sauce as possible; set sauce aside. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl, refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill, then stir in cilantro, jalapeños, and 2 1/2 cups cheese.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over bottom of 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Brush both sides of tortillas with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stack tortillas, wrap in damp dish towel, and place on plate; microwave until warm and pliable, about 1 minute.

Working with 1 warm tortilla at a time, spread 1/3 cup chicken filling across center of tortilla. Roll tortilla tightly around filling and place seam side down in baking dish; arrange enchiladas in 2 columns across width of dish.

Pour remaining sauce over top to cover completely and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover dish tightly with greased aluminum foil and bake until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. erves 4.

— From “Cooking at Home With Bridget & Julia: The TV Hosts of America’s Test Kitchen Share Their Favorite Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends” (America’s Test Kitchen, $35) by Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster