Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

If you have never made homeade enchilada sauce you really should try this. This is a basic chicken enchilada with a delicious red chili sauce.

I am pretty wimpy when it comes to spicy foods so I used 1 jalapeno, and 2 Tablespoons of the chili powder and it was fairly mild. So if you like the heat, use the full amounts and maybe add some pickled jalapenos to kick it up.

Chicken Enchiladas:
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2-3 teaspoons sugar
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce or (2-8 oz. cans)
1 cup water
salt and pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups shredded cheddar or monteray jack cheese (8 ounces), divided
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 - 6 inch corn or flour tortillas (i used 8-soft taco size flour tortillas)
Cooking spray

Combine the onion, jalapeno, and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 5-10 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar, and cook just until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato sauce and water. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through (160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer), about 12 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the reserved solids into a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and the cilantro. Stir to combine.(The sauce and filling can be made ahead, up to 2 days in advance before proceeding)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a 9 by 13" baking dish with cooking spray. If using corn tortillas, stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds, until warm and pliable. Divide the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up the tortillas around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam side down.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned. Remove from the oven, and serve.

This recipe is adapted from Annies Eats. It was originally from Americas Test Kitchen.

For a quicker stacked version of this enchilada:
Leave out jalapenos, sugar, and garlic. Reduce cilantro to 2 tablespoons. Increase oil to 1 tablespoon.
Use 16 ounces tomato sauce and 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth for the liquid.
Do not strain the finished sauce.
Replace the chicken breasts with a rotisserie chicken, meat shredded into bite size pieces, and toss with 1/4 cup of the finished sauce.
Use pre shredded mexican cheese blend for the cheese.
Layer the ingredients in a 8 inch dish square dish. Bake, covered at 400 degrees until hot, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Hope you enjoy!


  1. Have these in the oven...they smell wonderful! can't wait to taste them :) keep the recipes coming I love trying new stuff!

  2. I can't wait to make these. They sound delicious! We love mexican food. Leona

  3. I made these the other night and they were a HUGE hit with my family:) I will be making them again:) Thanks for sharing

  4. Guess what I made for dinner??? Yup these delish enchiladas wow soooo good!!!! Thanks for the inspiration Donna! Kathy