Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cinco de Mayo: Chicken Verde Enchiladas

I really didn't like the red sauce/flour tortilla enchiladas that I grew up with and didn't know there were other kinds out there. At some point I stumbled upon green sauce/corn tortilla enchiladas. These are by far my favorite kind and one of the first recipes I tried out of my Mexican cookbook once I got it a few years ago. 

The recipe below ISN'T HARD, but it is time consuming.  The great part is you can make the chicken and sauce a few days ahead (like today or tomorrow) and assemble the enchiladas the day of.  I've eaten Verde sauce out of the can and this homemade sauce blows away the canned kind.  Yes, it takes time but I can tell you these enchiladas are restaurant worthy. 

We had a dinner party a few weeks ago for high school friends of my husband and I served these.  They all went to a concert the next day together (I elected not to attend) and my husband said they talked about dinner and were raving that they would have been gotten their monies worth if they had gotten them at a restaurant.

If you are looking for other things to serve at Cinco de Mayo you can try these recipes too:
Creamy Rice Casserole
Mexican Shredded Beef
Red Rice and Guacamole

Today's Ingredients:
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves

2 1/2 cups Tubac Chile Verde (see below)
1 cup Crema (see below), or creme fraiche or sour cream
Vegetable Oil (for frying)
12 corn tortillas
8 oz. Monterey Jack, grated

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (about 10) roasted mild green chile, preferably
  New Mexican or Anaheim
8 oz. husked tomatillos, boiled in water until soft
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1 cup whipping cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized)
2 tablespoons buttermilk

In a small, nonreactive bowl, combine both ingredients.  Cover the bowl

loosely, and let it stand at room temperature for 8-24 hours, until the cream
is thickened and tart.  Stir the crema well, cover it, and refrigerate it.  Use
it as needed.  Crema keeps for up to 10 days.
Crema - It tastes pretty similar to sour cream, but not quite as tart and is
thinner.  I couldn't find non ultra-pasteurized whipped cream so I made 
the Crema with it and it turned out good so use that if that's all you can find. 
If you don't want to make crema, just use the sour cream - it will be just fine. 


First you need to get the shredded chicken cooking.

In a large stockpot bring the chicken and all of the shredded chicken
ingredients to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the
chicken until cooked through and very tender, 25-30 min.  Let the
chicken cool for a few minutes in the liquid.  Remove the breasts to a
plate and let them sit for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle. 
Shred into bit sized pieces.

This can be prepared 1-2 days beforehand.  Also, just strain the broth
and use it again.  It makes a great chicken stock to use in other recipes.


If you've never used a tomatillo this is what they look like.  Pick ones
that feel a little firm and their "skin" is pretty tight on them.  You'll bring
them home and peel the skin off.  They'll be pretty sticky so wash them
well before boiling them.  You don't need to boil them long, just until they
are soft - about 4-5 min.

I didn't get a picture of my roasted chilies as my hubby roasted them the
night before.  Roast them over medium heat until they are charred slightly
char on all sides.  Once they are all roasted, put them into a plastic bag for
about 10 min. - this helps loosen the skin.  I pull off the tops, cut it down
the middle and clean the seeds out.  Flip it over and peel the skin off.
Roughly chop the chilies and then put the boiled tomatillos and chiles
in a food processor and pulse until it's just roughly combined.  I like
to leave chunks in my sauce.

Ok, let's get the rest of the sauce started.

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until well softened,
about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and saute for an additional minute.

Add the flour and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes.

Mix in the chile/tomatillo mixture.

Pour in the stock and add the salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the
heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 min., until thickened but still
very pourable.

The sauce keeps, refrigerated, for about 5 days and freezes well.


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan. 
In a bowl combine the 2 1/2 cups verde sauce with
1 cup crema or sour cream.  Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce thinly in
the baking dish.

The first thing you'll want to do is cook up your tortillas.  I forgot to take a
picture of cooking the tortillas, but heat about an 1/2-1 inch of vegetable
oil in a pan.  Take your tortillas and just literally put in the tortilla in the oil
and then flip it over and take it out.  Cook it too much and now you have
a tostada and it will be too crisp to work with.  I sandwich each
tortilla in its own layer of paper towel to get all the excess oil off I can.  

I've tried to make this dish without doing this to the tortillas and
they just break and fall apart.  The frying makes the tortillas stronger
so they don't split in the rolling or cooking process.   

Ok we are ready to assemble these bad boys. 
Dip a tortilla into the sauce.  Top it with about 1/3 cup of chicken.  I am not that
precise when putting these together.  I just grab a handful of chicken that looks
to be the right amount.  I always seem to have lots of chicken leftover
AND my enchiladas are really full.

Add about a tablespoon of cheese.  Again I'm not precise here and
just add a little cheese.

Roll the enchiladas and place seam side down in your pan.  You can
fit about 5 in each row and then you'll have to fit 2 at the bottom
by turning them. 

Once you've rolled up all the tortillas top the enchiladas with any
remaining sauce and scatter the cheese over the sauce.

Bake for 15-18 min., until they are heated through. 
Serve immediately.

Yes, this recipe has a lot of steps, but the end result is restaurant
quality.  You won't be disappointed with the results!

1 comment:

  1. YUM! I love non red enchiladas! This looks awesome! Thanks.:)