Chicken Enchiladas Verde is a comforting Mexican enchilada dish consisting of corn tortillas rolled with shredded chicken and Monterrey Jack cheese, topped with a generous serving of Verde Sauce, and baked until bubbly.
Today, we’ll not only cover how to make an authentic, homemade batch of delicious Verde Enchiladas but we’ll answer all your enchilada questions including:
- What is Homemade Verde Sauce made of and how do you make it from scratch?
- What are tomatillos, where to find them…and how exactly do you get into them?
- Why your sauce needs sour cream!
- Plus, a must-know simple hack for easily rolling corn tortillas.
VERDE SAUCE FOR ENCHILADAS
Verde refers to the color of the enchilada sauce, just as Enchiladas Rojo refers to enchiladas with a red sauce (like we use to top off these Crock-Pot Chicken Enchiladas).
In fact, Enchiladas Verde literally translates to green enchiladas, which makes sense — this sauce has a lot of green going into it. The main ingredient in this sauce is tomatillos. It is what gives the dish its signature tangy flavor.
WHAT IS SALSA VERDE MADE OF?
- White Onion
- Serrano Peppers
- Sour Cream
As mentioned above, the main ingredient of Salsa Verde is tomatillos, but the fun certainly doesn’t stop there. It is a fairly healthy sauce and is made of mostly vegetables. Aside from the tomatillos, you will also find onions, hot peppers, garlic, and cilantro. Oh, and the sour cream. I did say fairly healthy after all.
WHAT ARE TOMATILLOS & WHERE TO FIND THEM?
Tomatillos are nightshade vegetables, just like their cousin the tomato. Although tart and acidic like a tomato, tomatillos are a little less sweet and much more tart. Actually, they’re similar to the flavor of green tomatoes, only less pulpy and more earthy in flavor.
You’ll often find tomatillos in the produce section of the grocery store next to the hot peppers.
HOW TO WORK WITH TOMATILLOS
If you feel hesitant about working with a tomatillo, remember, they are in the tomato family…only green and with a wrapper. The wrapper is referred to as a husk.
To work with tomatillos, tear away the husk, and you will find a semi-sticky green tomatillo underneath. Rinse away the sticky coating under cool running water and pat dry.
CHICKEN ENCHILADAS VERDE WITH SOUR CREAM
This particular sauce is often made with sour cream. While it may sound contradictory, the sour cream is actually a necessary component in cutting the acidity and the tartness of the tomatillos and makes for a well-rounded sauce.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS VERDE
Before you begin making your Verde Chicken Enchiladas, you’ll want to knock out the preliminary prep work. This includes:
- Cooking and shredding the chicken.
- Chopping the vegetables.
- Grating cheese.
Homemade enchiladas are typically baked together in a casserole dish. To keep them from sticking to the pan, a good (and flavorful) practice is to add a bit of the sauce to the bottom of the dish.
You can go about making your chicken however you like. White meat, dark meat, rotisserie…whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you have it shredded into bite-sized pieces. I use this Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts Recipe. Then, to easily shred the chicken I cut it at a 1 1/2″ bias going against the grain and pull it apart by hand.
- Make the Verde Sauce and add a thin layer to the bottom of a casserole dish.
- For the filling, combine shredded chicken, cheese, and a portion of the sauce in a bowl.
- Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave to make pliable.
- Fill tortillas, roll, transfer to the baking dish, top with more sauce and cheese, and bake.
1. MAKE THE SAUCE
Verde Sauce for Chicken Enchiladas begins on the stovetop, sautéeing onions, jalapeños, and garlic. After the vegetables have softened the tomatillos go in, along with a little water to help them break down.
Once the tomatillos have broken down, the sauce goes into the blender, along with a little sour cream, and it is blended until smooth.
2. COMBINE FILLING INGREDIENTS
To make the filling for the enchiladas, combine the shredded chicken, a small amount of the Monterrey Jack cheese, and a bit of the sauce. Adding cheese and sauce to the chicken filling ensures the chicken won’t dry out in the baking process.
3. WARM THE TORTILLAS
In order to easily roll corn tortillas, stack about 6 tortillas and place them in the center of a damp paper towel and wrap them up.
Then, microwave the tortillas for 40-60 seconds, or until soft and pliable. If you skip this step, your tortillas will break during the rolling process. It’s an extra step, but it’s well worth your sanity.
4. ROLL. TOP. BAKE. EAT.
The filling is divided amongst the warmed tortillas, then the tortillas are rolled, and the enchiladas are placed in the casserole dish. Once the dish is full, top with the remaining Verde Sauce, covered in cheese, and baked to total enchilada perfection.
WHAT TO EAT WITH CHICKEN ENCHILADAS VERDE
The classic pairing for enchiladas is, of course, rice and beans. You’ll find stellar recipes for both below, as well as a veggie option that would pair wonderfully with your Chicken Enchiladas Verde!
5 MORE MEXICAN DINNERS YOU’LL LOVE
- Steak Quesadillas
- Homemade Beef Chimichangas
- Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas
- Crock-pot Chicken Tacos
- Ranchero Chicken
A simple recipe for Chicken Enchiladas Verde featuring shredded chicken, Monterrey Jack cheese, corn tortillas, and a homemade Verde Sauce made with tomatillos and sour cream.
- 3 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed, ste
- 1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 3 serranos or jalapeños, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1 pound cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 2 1/2 cups freshly grated Monterrey Jack cheese, separated
- 12 corn tortillas
Preheat the oven to 350°, and have ready a 9x13" greased casserole dish.
To prepare the tomatillos, remove the husk, rinse away sticky coating under cool running water, and pat dry. Remove the stem, and quarter the tomatillos. Set aside until ready to use.
Add canola oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature. Add the onion and peppers, and sauté 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, and sauté 1 minute more.
Add the tomatillos to the pan, along with water, sugar, salt, cumin, and pepper. Allow to come to a simmer, and reduce the heat accordingly to maintain the simmer. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring often.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender, and add the sour cream and cilantro. Before blending, take care to remove the plug from the lid to avoid a build-up of steam. Cover with a dish towel, and blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
Add chicken, half of the cheese, and a 1/2 cup of tomatillo sauce to a bowl. Mix to combine. Next, add a thin layer of tomatillo (verde) sauce to the casserole dish. Set both aside until ready to use.
To warm the tortillas for rolling, stack 6 tortillas in the center of a damp paper towel, and microwave for 1 minute. Repeat until all of the tortillas are warm and pliable.
Add about 3 tablespoons worth of filling to each tortilla and roll tightly. Place seam-side down across the casserole dish. Pour over the remaining verde sauce, and top with remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes, serve and enjoy.