Friday, July 8, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I have been on the hunt for a good enchilada recipe for a very long time. Enchiladas have always been a favorite item to order at Mexican restaurants and I've always wanted to make them at home, but I've never found a sauce recipe I could stand. Fillings are easy. You can really fill enchiladas with whatever you want... chicken, shredded beef, cheese, beans... anything you want to your liking. But the sauce - yes, the perfect sauce always eluded me. Until now.

None of the sauces I tried before were ever quite right. They were always too spicy, too smokey, too... weird. But this one totally fit the bill. The flavor is out of this world. Don't worry when you see that the sauce calls for two whole onions, it's not a typo. It's totally on purpose, because that's where all the awesome flavor comes from. The onion adds a hearty, body-ful flavor to the sauce, that none of the other sauces have ever achieved. And, as if blending the sauce didn't make give it a creamy-enough texture all by itself, the last minute addition of just a little sour cream makes it rich without making it heavy. I like this sauce so much I think I might make extra next time and freeze some to have on hand.

But the one thing I was not prepared for was how BIG these enchiladas are. I'm used to wimpy enchiladas made with little corn tortillas, small enough that I usually need to eat two to get full. So when I saw that this recipe only made six enchiladas I was a bit worried. But don't fret guys... as you can see from the photos, these are monster enchiladas. I'm almost tempted to call them smothered burritos instead, because that's essentially what they are. But an enchilada by any other name tastes just as delicious. So call them what you will. But promise me you'll make them? You'll be very glad you did.

Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Big Bowl of Love
yields 6 enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
one 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder

six 8-to 10 inch low-fat flour tortillas
one 15-ounce can non-fat refried beans, heated
2 cups shredded roasted chicken, white and dark meat
2 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/4 cups light sour cream, at room temperature

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the canola oil, onions, and scallions, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the butter and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, chilies, sugar, cumin, coriander, and chili powder, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Remove tomato mixture from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
3. In small batches, blend the tomato puree in a blender until completely smooth (or use an immersion blender, like I did, and do your best to get it smooth). Pour into a glass pie plate and set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
5. Prepare to roll the enchiladas. Line up all the ingredients on the counter with a cutting board: tortillas, refried beans, chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, scallions, olives, cilantro, and sour cream. Dip each tortilla on both sides in the enchilada sauce to soften it. Spread 1/4 cup of the refried beans on each tortilla, then add 1/4 cup of the chicken and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Sprinkle on scallions, olives, and cilantro at your discretion. Roll each tortilla tightly and place them all seam side down in a baking dish.
6. Whisk 1/2 cup of the sour cream into the remaining enchilada sauce and pour over the rolled tortillas. Sprinkle with any remaining cheese, scallions, and olives. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
7. To serve, place one enchilada each of 6 plates and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sour cream on top.


  1. These photos look so delicious. I don't think I've ever made one that looked half as good. I'm going to follow your directions and see if I can be a hero too. :)

  2. These look delish, I'm a sucker for chicken enchiladas!

  3. That is one monster size enchilada and it looks fabulous! I have the same trouble with enchilada sauces, this one looks great!

  4. These look delicious! t's been forever since 've made enchiladas. think you just inspired me to make some :-D

  5. That's a BAE! (Big Ass Enchilada!) I like it :) Well done! Buzzed

  6. What Parsley Sage said. Wow, that's big; but it looks delicious. I've been looking for something to do with leftover chicken I have and this might just fit the bill. Many thanks for sharing (and explaining about the onions). I'll be sure to use both!

  7. Just something about Mexican food - these enchiladas look wonderful!


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