A simple recipe for verde chicken enchiladas. A gluten-free dinner recipe featuring shredded chicken, Monterrey Jack cheese, corn tortillas, and a green sauce with sour cream.
I think one of my absolute favorite things about living in Texas is the fact that we get to share a border with Mexico. And friends, the people of Mexico? They know how to throw it down in the kitchen.
Drive any twenty-mile radius within the Lonestar state, and you’ll see that Texans have more than embraced this fact. Mexican food joints are everywhere, and they are welcomed with great big open arms. Because really, who doesn’t welcome the kind of place that greets you with a basket full of hot tortilla chips, alongside a variety of salsas? Only the crazies. That’s who.
Once you’ve finally nailed down your favorite Mexican restaurant, you’re then left with the impossible task of nailing down what to order. Best of luck. From fajitas to tostadas, to quesadillas…it’s all so very tempting. But, as tempting as it all sounds, there is one menu item that should not be overlooked, nor underestimated — enchiladas verde.
Enchiladas verde translated is green enchiladas. We aren’t talking “green eggs and ham” kind of stuff here people, we are talking tomatillos. These little nightshade beauties are the base of the green sauce, and what gives the enchiladas verde sauce its signature tangy flavor.
WHAT IS IN VERDE SAUCE FOR ENCHILADAS
Verde sauce begins with tomatillos. If you feel hesitant about working with a tomatillo, keep in mind, they are in the tomato family, only green and with a wrapper. The wrapper is referred to as a husk.
To work with tomatillos, you simply tear away the husk, and you will find a semi-sticky green tomatillo underneath. Simply rinse away the sticky coating under cool running water and pat dry.
Verde sauce 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.
HOW TO MAKE VERDE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
MAKE THE SAUCE
Verde enchiladas begin 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, or to ones liking.
WARM THE TORTILLAS
Ok, here’s the deal: Enchiladas should only ever (like, ever) be made with corn tortillas. But, truth be told — they are a pain to roll. So! In order to easily roll corn tortillas, stack about 6 tortillas 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 trust me, it’s well worth your sanity.
HAVE READY SHREDDED CHICKEN
You can go about making your chicken however you like. White meat, dark meat, rotisserie…whatever floats your boat. You’ll just want to make sure you have it shredded into bite-sized pieces.
I use my Perfectly Cooked 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 ENCHILADA FILLING
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 both the cheese and the sauce the chicken filling will ensure the chicken does not dry out in the baking process.
ROLL. TOP. BAKE. EAT.
Homemade enchiladas are typically baked together in a casserole dish. To keep the keep the enchiladas from sticking to the pan, a good (and flavorful) practice is to add a bit of the sauce to the bottom of the dish.
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, the enchiladas are topped off with the remaining sauce, covered in cheese, and baked to total enchilada perfection.
So basically what we are looking at here is authentic enchiladas verde that you didn’t even have to treck across the country for. And, although I have no doubt Mexico and/or Texas would love to have you someday, you can now easily make these beauties in the comfort of your own kitchen. No restaurant required.
A simple recipe for verde chicken enchiladas featuring shredded chicken, Monterrey Jack cheese, corn tortillas, and a green sauce with 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.