Chicken tortillas a festive, fun treat for Cinco de Mayo
It is May and time to celebrate the coming of spring and the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo.
When I hear of Cinco de Mayo, my thoughts turn to food, drinks, and a party-like atmosphere.
However, the real intent of this holiday is to commemorate the victory of the Mexican Army over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
But what heck – let’s talk food anyway.
One of my go-to Mexican dishes is the simple chicken tortilla. A fried corn tortilla with chicken then slathered with a zesty fresh green sauce and topped with some homemade Mexican crema is a culinary delight.
What could be easier to make? Plus this dish can be used as an appetizer or a main entrée – and even packs well for summer adventures. Enjoy it this month – or any.
— Mark J. Bly
The Flying Chef
Green Chicken Tortillas
3 pounds of chicken, skin and bones removed
3 cloves of garlic
1 Mexican bay leaf
1 yellow onion. Quarter half and dice the other half.
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds of tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 Serrano chilies
2 Tablespoons canola oil
24 corn tortillas
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups homemade crema
1 cup shredded cheese (a white mild or whatever’s on hand)
In a large pot place the chicken, one clove of garlic, peppercorns and a fourth of the onion and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool. Strain the stock and reserve.
Once cool, shred the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large saucepan place the tomatillo, two cloves of garlic and several pieces of onion. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatillos are soft. Drain off the water and let cool.
Roughly chop the Serrano chilis and garlic from the tomatillos. In a blender combine the tomatillos, onions, chilies and garlic. Add to that a half cup of the strained chicken stock. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat. Add the tomatillo mixture to the blender. Be careful as this may splatter.
In a small skillet add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat. Fry the tortillas one at a time for about 30 seconds per side. The key here is to leave the tortilla pliable and chewy. You do not want them to be crisp. Once fried, fold the tortilla in half and plate.
Spoon the tomatillo sauce over the tortillas. Spread it around a bit as to cover the whole surface. Next sprinkle on a layer of diced onion and chopped cilantro. Add a layer of cheese, some chicken and some crema. Top with another layer of the tomatillo sauce and garnish with onion and cilantro.
To make homemade Mexican Crema, combine 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and cover. Let the mixture set at room temperature for three hours. Use right away or refrigerate for up to the expiration date printed on the sour cream container.