Jerk Chicken Enchiladas

I can’t even with these. Cheesy, flavorful, spicy enchiladas smothered in a roasted habanero-garlic cream sauce. What more can you ask for out of enchiladas?

To cut down on prep time, the sauce can be made in advance, it’ll keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

For the jerk chicken, this Food and Wine recipe is my favorite but I’ll substitute the whole chicken for chicken thighs to make life easier. I’m also lazy so I use ground allspice instead of freshly grinding the berries myself.

Ingredients

For the roasted habanero-garlic cream sauce:

  • 4 habaneros, stem and seeds removed
  • Head of garlic
  • Olive or canola oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • Fine sea salt

*We like it XXX spicy so we leave the seeds in.

For the enchiladas:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded jerk chicken (recipe linked above)
  • Habanero-garlic cream sauce
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
  • Half a white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Pinch of dried nutmeg
  • Optional, for garnish: green onions, sliced chiles

Directions

To make the roasted habanero-garlic cream sauce:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rub a bit of oil on the habanero peppers and place them on the baking sheet.
  2. Peel off the loose outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving the head intact. Trim 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic, exposing the tops of the individual garlic cloves.
  3. Drizzle the top of the head of garlic with a tsp of oil, rubbing it on the exposed cloves. Wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil and place it on the baking sheet along with the peppers.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Check the peppers after 20 minutes – if they’re roasted and blackened, pull them out and place aside. Leave the garlic in the oven, roasting for 40 minutes total.
  5. Let the garlic cool and then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
  6. Finely mince the habaneros and roasted garlic.
  7. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and whisk constantly for 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add in the cream cheese and stir until fully incorporated. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.

To make the enchiladas:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the shredded chicken to a large bowl.
  3. Spoon half of the habanero-garlic cream sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Set aside.
  4. Add 1 tbsp oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the edges are starting to lightly brown. Turn off the heat, add the sauteed onion to the bowl with the chicken, and wipe the skillet clean. Set the skillet back on the stove.
  5. Add the green chiles and half of the shredded cheese to the bowl with the chicken and onions. Stir to combine.
  6. Add a thin layer of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add a tortilla into the oil. Cook for 30 seconds, flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the tortilla from the skillet, gently shaking off any excess oil. While the tortilla is still warm, spoon in , enough oil to cover the bottom of a clean skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place a corn tortilla in the oil and cook for 30 seconds. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds. While the corn tortilla is still warm, spoon in approx 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll up the tortilla and place seam-side down the baking dish. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.
  7. Top the enchiladas with the remaining habanero-garlic sauce, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and the remaining cheese. and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is golden and bubbly on top. Let sit for 10 minutes, garnish as desired, and serve.

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