Ok, you caught me…
Chicken Enchiladas Verde isn’t exactly a Fast Friday type meal. But hey, the category also says Fun, and this recipe definitely IS fun! Besides, you can always make it the night before and place it in the fridge uncooked, then bake it on Fast Fun Friday when you get home from work. That way it’s done in less than an hour and you don’t have a mess in the kitchen – bonus!
Now these babies aren’t technically “verde” since there are no tomatillo’s in them, but I when I coaxed the recipe from a wonderful woman in Tijuana, I had to name them myself. Why you ask? “Well,” I answer, “Because they came to me nameless, poor things!” Since they had green chilies in them – I went with chicken enchiladas verde.
Yep, I’ve been found out – I am not Mexican and don’t have a clue what these are actually called, but I call them DELICIOUS! And so does Tim. And that’s good enough for me!
I stayed a weekend in Tijuana, Mexico about 15 years ago, in a lovely B&B. I was pretty much chicken to go wandering around the city in search of food, so when I timidly asked my hostess for the name of a good place nearby, she graciously invited me into her kitchen to have dinner with her. Talk about eating in the best place in town! I was in heaven! On my second night in her kitchen (yes, I shamelessly asked her the same question at the same time the next evening) I asked her if she might share a recipe with me for the chicken enchilada dish I’d just inhaled. She giggled a bit, blushed and then told me to write down her recipe. I did, and and by the time she finished talking I had a total of NINE recipes! She shared everything from her salsa verde recipe to her super spicy Mexican Torte. I made all of them just as soon as I got back home to Omaha, and every dish was better than the last.
This recipe for Chicken Enchiladas Verde still holds a special place in my heart since it was the dish I ate on that marvelous evening. Thank you again Maria for your hospitality, warmth, laughter and great food!
This is a very savory dish with none of the heat that we’ve come to expect from most Mexican food served in America. The sauce is rich and creamy… with cheese that melts and smothers the enchiladas as they bake.
So here’s how to make them:
Yup, it looks like a lot of ingredients at first glance, but once you break it down into the various stages of prep and cooking, it’s actually not a lot and not confusing or difficult at all, so don’t be shy, just grab the ingredients and get started!
First up, simmer the chicken breasts in equal parts chicken broth and tap water.
I bring it up to a boil, put the lid on and then reduce the heat till it’s just simmering. They only take about 20 minutes to cook through. Then remove them and let them cool till you can handle them.
Once they’re cooled a bit, shred them with your hands, or with a fork. Place them into a large heavy skillet and add chopped onion, chopped green chili’s, a bit of garlic and some cilantro.
Uh huh, I added my second can of chilies on top of the onions, tossed on the cilantro and then mixed it all together.
Once it’s all mixed, just add some of the reserved broth to the pan and let it cook over high heat till it evaporates. Keep adding more broth, letting it cook down each time till all the broth is used up. At that point, turn the heat down to medium and let the chicken cook till the onions are translucent and all the both is absorbed. While it’s simmering, prepare the tortillas.
Just give them a light fry, till they puff a bit and get a wee bit golden. Then dip them very quickly into your dipping mixture.
Once both sides are wet, set them aside and fry the next one.
After a quick dip on both sides, set the tortillas aside to cool and soften back up.
These are some of my favorite kitchen helpers. They're Dang Good and I love 'em!
Keep stacking the fried and dipped tortillas, being careful to stir the chicken once in a while so that it doesn’t burn.
Ok, now it’s time to assemble these babies! This part is very easy, but you have to be careful not to tear the soft, delicate tortillas.
Set out a large ungreased baking dish, then top each tortilla with a large portion of the chicken mixture.
Fold in the sides, then roll it up and place it into the pan with the open edge down so that it doesn’t open up during baking. Keep filling, rolling and placing into the pan. Normally this would make 6 large enchiladas, but I only have 5 today because my last tortilla had issues – it was squished all funny in the package and tore into pieces when I tried to unfold it…sigh.
Yep, #5 doesn’t have a friend to cozy up with over there on the side of the pan. He’s sad… I’m sad… and Tim doesn’t care because he can nibble on the extra portion of chicken in the bowl while I cook dinner!
Ok, almost done! Pour the remaining dipping liquid over the enchiladas:
Then layer it with lots and lots of cheese. I used half cheddar and half monterey jack cheese, because I can’t get my hands on Queso Blanco around here. <insert more sighing here>
Once you’ve smothered it all in cheese, pour the rest of the carton of heavy cream over the top, then it’s off to the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
If you wanted to make these the day before, just cover the dish and place it in the fridge. On the following day, remove them from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 40 minutes.
And here they are… fresh from the oven!
Oh my goodness, seeing all that cheese on top makes me want to go find the leftovers in my fridge! I’m pretty sure Tim hasn’t found #5 yet, I hid him really well in the back… behind the spinach.
Ok, one last photo and then I promise I’ll post the recipe.
- 6 10inch Flour Tortillas
- 3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 2 Cans Chopped Green Chilies
- 1 lb. shredded Queso Blanco or combo of shredded Monterey Jack/Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Large Onion - Chopped
- 2 Pints Heavy Cream
- 1 Can Chicken Broth
- 1 teaspoon Powdered Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Cilantro - Chopped
- Add the chicken broth and 1 can of water to a large pot. Bring to a full boil, then add the chicken breasts. Place a lid on the pot, then turn the heat down till the broth is simmering. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drain the chicken and reserve the broth for later use.
- When chicken has cooled, shred it with your hands or with a fork.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place the chicken, green chilies, chopped onion, garlic and cilantro into a large heavy skillet. Divide the broth, saving 1 cup for later use, then, from the remaining broth, add ½ cup to the chicken in the pan. Turn heat to high and cook, stirring, till all the broth has been absorbed. Add any remaining broth to the skillet, then turn heat to low and simmer till all the liquid has been absorbed and the onions are translucent.
- Meanwhile, stir together 1 pint of the heavy cream with the reserved 1 cup of broth in a large flat dish. This will be your dipping liquid.
- Heat ½" of oil in a large skillet or pot, then fry the tortillas one at a time until they are golden on both sides and just starting to puff up.
- Remove from the oil and dip quickly on both sides in the dipping liquid. Set aside to cool and soften.
- Repeat with all the tortillas, stacking them to cool.
- When the tortillas are all done and the chicken has absorbed all the broth, assemble the enchiladas.
- Place ⅙th of the chicken mixture onto a tortilla, then fold in the sides and gently roll it up. Place the rolled edge down in a large baking ungreased baking pan. Continue filling and rolling till all the chicken and tortillas have been used.
- Drizzle any remaining dipping liquid over the enchiladas, then top with all of the grated cheese.
- Pour the 2nd pint of heavy cream over the cheese to moisten all of it.
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
On the following day, remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and uncover it. Preheat the oven to 350F, then bake the enchiladas for 40 minutes or till golden and bubbly on top.