The first time I had homeade enchiladas was at my first boyfriend’s house when I was 16. They had lived in Texas for a few years, and his favorite dinner was his mom’s green chile chicken enchiladas. At the time, I thought they were great…but now, I think that a recipe with cream of chicken soup and sour cream as the base is not something that would come out of my kitchen today, since canned soups have gluten.

We received 2 chickens in our farm share this month – one is a nice roaster, and the other was a much smaller bird, so I took that one out of the freezer on Saturday. I was a little stumped as to what to do with the bird until I visited Alicia Carrier’s blog, Bread and Honey. Alicia’s blog is one of those that I regularly go to for inspiration. Her stories are wonderful and peppered with personal details that keep you coming back for more. Her photos highlight her artistic talents, and make you want to sit down at her table for dinner every night.

I saw Alicia’s post on enchiladas – and knew that this was the destiny for our chicken. I hadn’t made enchiladas in awhile, and I’ve never been happy with the sauce I made – until now. WOW – Alicia’s recipe is so simple – I think it took me 10 minutes to put the sauce together, and the flavor was fresh, spicy, earthy and absolutely perfect for enchiladas. These enchiladas were definitely the best I have ever made, and Alicia’s sauce will now be my go-to recipe.

Most enchilada recipes call for briefly cooking the tortillas in oil before rolling them up, so the tortillas don’t get too soggy, but I hate to add the extra fat to a recipe if it really doesn’t enhance the flavor, so I discarded that step. Though this made the enchiladas softer, and trickier to remove the pan, they were just as tasty.

Enchilada Sauce
Makes 3 cups of sauce

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
4 seeded & soaked chiles. (I used a mixture of what I had on hand – pasilla, guajillo and ancho)
1 clove of garlic
2 T chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
2 cups tomato sauce

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Place chiles in the skillet and press down with a spatula for a few seconds on each side to toast the chiles – they will get slightly lighter in color when toasted – if they start to smoke – take them off the heat. Once they’re toasted, they’ll feel more pliable and leathery. De-seed the toasted chiles and soak in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain the water from the chiles, and combine all ingredients in food processor and taste until it tastes like the best enchilada sauce you’ve ever had. Makes about 3 cups – we made a pan of 6 enchiladas, and have about 3/4 cup leftover for potential pizza topping later this week.

Chicken Enchiladas
Serves at least 4

3 cups shredded roasted chicken
1 tsp oil
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
3 big handfuls of spinach
2/3 cup shredded queso fresco
6 corn tortillas

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp vegetable oil. Add onions and saute until they begin to brown – about 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken to the pan, along with 1 cup of sauce, and heat through. Toss the spinach on top of the chicken mixture, and fold it in. When the spinach has wilted, turn the burner off, and remove from heat and get ready to assemble the enchiladas.
  3. Set up an assembly line with the pan of chicken filling, room for rolling the enchiladas and a well oiled pyrex pan. Wrap corn tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Place the warm tortillas on the counter, and spoon about 1/3 cup of filling in the middle of each tortilla, then roll up and place them in the pan. Spoon about 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the enchiladas in an even layer, then sprinkle with the queso fresco. Bake for 20 minutes, and serve.

Getting the enchiladas out of the pan is a bit tricky, but even if they aren’t as pretty as Alicia’s enchiladas, they’ll still be mighty tasty. I also had about a cup or so of filling leftover, which we’ll be enjoying for lunch later this week, served over brown rice. I don’t like leftover enchiladas, when the tortillas have gotten all soggy.

3 thoughts on “Enchiladas

  1. Oh the foods we loved and thought were so great when we were younger. What are your thoughts on ancho chiles? I try to like the flavor but it is sometimes too raisin-y for me. I like that you combined different chiles. THis sounds like it comes together pretty quickly.

  2. Yep – anchos definitely have a sweetness to them – I always mix them up with other chiles to get a nice balance of heat and earthiness, with just a hint of the ancho flavor. I made pizza with leftover sauce a couple days ago – YUM.

  3. Pingback: Enchilada Casserole « The Whole Kitchen

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