chicken enchiladas

Oh man, these chicken enchiladas.  They’re probably one of my favorite dinners ever.  If you asked Daren, I’m sure he’d say he could eat them every night (and in a house where we rarely eat things multiple times, given the number of recipes I have stashed away waiting to be tried, that’s saying a lot!)  They are a little time/labor intensive, but the end result is SO worth it.  I actually think they’re really fun to make- they’d be an awesome dish to try out as a couple.  Tag team ‘em! And drink a couple margaritas while you’re at it… sounds like a perfect date night to me.

The homemade enchilada sauce in these has great depth of flavor, and by cooking the chicken directly in the sauce it stays moist and tender and really soaks up all that enchilada-y goodness.  These also freeze really well, so I always like to make a double batch and stick half in the freezer for an easy meal another night.  Now that I think of it, we should have a batch stashed away in our “spare” garage freezer – sounds like those will be going on the menu next week! (Get excited, D!) If you do freeze them, just keep the sauce separate – that way you can crisp up the tortillas before adding the sauce as written below.


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
  • ½ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 8-inch tortillas (I used corn/flour blend tortillas; the originally recipe recommends corn)
  • Cooking spray


In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the onion, jalapeno and oil.  Cook over medium heatstirring frequently, until the onions and peppers have softened (about 8-10 minutes).  Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato and bring the sauce to a simmer.  Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Add the chicken to the pot, pushing it down into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 12-20 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the sauce and set aside to cool.

Once you’ve removed the chicken, run the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the peppers and onions to extract as much liquid as possible.  Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.  Add salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.  Using 2 forks (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the onion mixture.  Add ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of each of the shredded cheeses, and the cilantro to the chicken and stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F and spray a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds or until warm and pliable.  Taking one tortilla at a time (keep the rest covered), spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of the tortilla.  Tightly roll the tortilla up and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the tortillas, then lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray.

Place the enchiladas in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tops start to brown slightly.  Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F and pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator; they taste just as great the next day!

Yield: 12 enchiladas

Source: Annie’s Eats; originally from America’s Test Kitchen


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