Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Story provided by Karyl Henry, KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

As much as I love Mexican food, I almost never order enchiladas. Fajitas are my go-to, with chimichangas a close second.

And honestly, there’s no real reason that I have avoided enchiladas. I mean, it’s basically a mini burrito that’s covered in sauce. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

So I decided to take on the challenge with Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  • You can make the enchiladas ahead and bake as needed
  • The filling options for enchiladas, in general, are endless

INGREDIENT TIPS FOR GREEN CHILE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Corn tortillas are traditional for enchiladas, but they always fall apart on me. So I use flour tortillas.

Normally I’m a die-hard dark meat chicken girl. But I also really like chicken tenderloins. They’re small, cook quickly, and retain more moisture than regular chicken breast.

I poach the tenderloins in chicken broth for more flavor and then shred them. In a pinch, you can use rotisserie chicken. 

Green chiles add a wonderful depth of flavor, without being overpowering. 

I’ve never found fresh chiles in the produce section, but you can find canned chiles in the Hispanic aisle of the grocery store. They come in mild or hot, and you can get them diced or chopped.

The chicken by itself is boring, so I saute fresh onion and garlic, plus chiles, and add them to the chicken.

Cheese is another critical element to the filling, and I like to use cheese with a kick. I use Monterrey Jack for the filling and sharp Cheddar for the topping.

SOUR CREAM SAUCE

You can buy enchilada sauce at the store. But why do that when it’s so easy to make it yourself?!

I use unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for the roux, and the key is to add the flour slowly and mix for about a minute to cook out the flour taste.

Chicken broth and sour cream are the liquid bases of the sauce and, again, you need to mix them in slowly over low heat so the sauce thickens and the sour cream doesn’t curdle. I like to use fat-free or light sour cream.

Don’t skimp on the seasonings, or the sauce will be bland. Onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper add great flavor. And then, of course, more green chiles.

Don’t skimp on the sauce either! If you do, you won’t have enough to fully cover the enchiladas and the edges of the tortillas will burn while they bake.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTIONS

Make one day ahead:

  • Make the filling (all except the cheese) and sauce, and store in separate containers in the fridge.
  • Take everything out of the fridge 30 minutes before using.
  • Add cheese to the filling, assemble enchiladas and bake.

Make-ahead for the freezer:

  • Fully make the enchiladas.
  • Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To bake: remove plastic wrap, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

INGREDIENTS

FILLING

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 16 ounces chicken breast tenderloin
  • 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium or no salt added)
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles (I use mild)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

SOUR CREAM SAUCE

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth (low sodium or no salt added)
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

MAKE FILLING

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil and add to a skillet.
  2. Add chicken tenderloins, reduce to a simmer, and cook 4 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer chicken to a bowl and shred it with 2 forks.
  4. Heat oil in the same skillet. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add 3/4 of the green chiles and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the shredded chicken and allow it to cool while you make the sauce. Add Monterrey Jack cheese and combine.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°

MAKE SAUCE

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, whisking to combine each time. Cook for 1 minute to cook out the flour taste.
  2. Add chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Increase heat and cook for 3 minutes, until bubbling.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add sour cream 1/4 cup at a time, whisking well until smooth.
  4. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, oregano, and chiles. Whisk well to fully combine and cook for another 2 minutes.

ASSEMBLE AND FINISH ENCHILADAS

  1. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon a layer of sauce in the bottom.
  2. Lay tortillas on a flat surface and spoon the filling down the center of each tortilla. Fold the right and left sides of the tortilla over each other, creating a semi-wrap.
  3. Place enchiladas seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, to fully cover them.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler, add Cheddar cheese and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and a little more cheese, and serve.

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