I honestly couldn’t tell all the places this Chicken Enchilada can be brought to – a potluck, a dinner party, a gathering for a live broadcast of a football game. I just couldn’t ask for anything more comforting than this dish, especially when the temperature’s starting to dip low.
What do you need for Chicken Enchiladas?
My enchilada filling is just chicken strips seasoned with herbs, garlic and chopped onions, then smothered in a creamy enchilada sauce and melted cheese. But please don’t hesitate to go for a mix of your favorite veggies.
Choosing the chicken
The chicken meat should be cooked through properly before shredded. Rotisserie chicken can also help pull this dish together, but in most cases, you may have to put forth more effort in tearing the whole chicken apart into small pieces. Sounds sweating enough to me.
Also, don’t you find that leftover cooked chicken can be a time-saving solution?
- Flour tortillas:
As we all know, flour tortillas are the most favored in restaurant since they can be rolled up with ease. But did you know that they are high in calories, saturated fat, sodium (up to 30% of the daily amount for an adult) and of course, with a higher GI? Though refined flour is hardly a huge concern for me, it may be something worth considering in your cooking routine. So think about it twice if you have certain heart diseases or serious issues due to high cholesterol intake.
Also, flour tortillas often have that doughy texture, which may leave you with a slightly harsh mouthfeel and overpower the taste of the filling.
Okay, I didn’t mean to make flour tortillas sound so shady so here’s a good news for those who’ve been, all their lives, obsessed with how crunchy burritos are thanks to flour tortillas – there’s such a thing as a whole wheat flour tortilla. It’s a healthier choice that helps fill you up longer. And in case you cannot find them on grocery racks, whole wheat flour tortillas can totally be homemade.
- Corn tortillas:
All tortillas can be home-made, if that’s ever been your curiosity. I don’t know you, but to me, corn tortillas are even easier to pull out. They’re naturally a whole grain food, and can also be easily found. For the purpose of making rolls, you might want to keep one more thing in mind: all in all, corn tortillas can be smaller in size than flour tortillas, though that still varies in different retailers.
But still, it’s worth being precautious when purchasing corn tortillas. On any package, there must be ‘whole grain corn’ printed, otherwise, you may mistakenly pick the ‘degermed corn’ tortillas. Degermed corn tortillas are not whole grain or contain as many nutrients. Most of their vitamins and minerals have been spoiled during manufacture.
- Cassava flour tortillas:
Gluten-free, nut-free and grain-free, cassava tortillas are suitable for those who are vegan, vegetarian, paleo dieters and gluten-intolerant. They are actually better at not falling apart when rolled up with the filling, unlike corn tortillas.
The cassava root is peeled, dried and ground to knead into tortillas, so it’s no surprise that cassava tortillas have a pretty high carb profile and high dietary fiber. This can lead to a certain spike on your insulin level.
Alright, enough talk about tortillas, I’m getting dizzy already. Choosing the suitable tortilla for your taste and dietary style is one thing, the rest should depend more on the filling and toppings. Keep checking it out down below.
Choosing the filling
Here are some veggie options that you may enjoy for your own-made filling:
- Roasted beans or corn
- Peppers or zucchini
- Finely chopped tomatoes
Choosing the toppings
Your chicken enchiladas just cannot be as expected without being piled high with toppings and basted all over. Besides the heaping layers of cheese and Enchilada sauce, this dish should absolutely be stacked with spoonfuls of sour cream, generous dollops of guacamole or even extra tortilla strips (yeah well, not like I haven’t had it enough with the tortillas).
The rich, creamy enchilada sauce
Even if this dish hasn’t come to your attention until now, I still bet on certainty that you’ve heard of ‘enchilada sauce’ at least once, here and there, maybe when strolling through Costco or food outlets. But hold your horses, we’re not going for any store-bought, processed one, not this time (and possibly, never again).
My home-made enchilada sauce is simply chicken broth base thickened with tomato sauce, supported by a small kick from splashes of chili powder and ground cumin. Those all come together in a blender for an authentically complex warmth but not too tangy a taste. It’s totally not so mouthful to say enchilada sauce is one of the most pleasant sauces I’ve ever made. I also love the fact that enchilada sauce can be repurposed for tons of other dishes and not just these enchiladas rolls alone.
I find myself so easily satisfied with everything-tomato-sauce, and its consistency. But if your sauce comes out too watery and it somehow makes your rolls unwantedly soggy, then adding more starch (such as flour) to the sauce won’t bring any harm either.
How long does enchilada sauce last in the fridge?
Roughly one week in the fridge, and three months in the freezer. Basically, it’s a ready-to-go sauce whenever you’re in need. So, just make a super big batch of this sauce in advance. We all need a sauce that’s full of good things all the time, right?
Can you make Chicken Enchiladas ahead of time?
Absolutely! I doubt that you even had to ask.
Simply assemble the fresh tortilla rolls in the baking sheet without the enchilada sauce and cheese, then pop them to the fridge. These tortilla rolls are super easy to be frozen or reheated. Not until your rolls are about to go into the oven should the sauce and cheese be poured on top. The process is simple as that.
Oh and I have also seen people quickly fry the corn tortillas so they’re crispy outside and not soggy afterwards. I haven’t been able to try this method yet. How about you tell me how it works for you?
That’s it for now folks. I hope this recipe about chicken enchiladas becomes one of your favorites! Oh, don’t forget to pay a visit to my chicken shwarma recipe, too. I’m sure you’ll like it. I’ll see you next time! 🙂
Chicken Enchiladas Recipe
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 6 oz chicken breast
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 cup Hunt’s unsalted tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup green bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup red kidney bean rinsed solids
- 1 cup sweet corn raw
- 8 slices corn tortillas
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- Parsley for garnish
- Preheat a large skillet (we prefer a cast iron) over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Add the chicken to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes per side to make sure they are cooked through. It should be golden on two sides.
- Put the cooked chicken in a bowl. Shred it using two forks. Cover and set aside to cool.
- In the same pan, add 1 tbsp garlic, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and cornstarch. Stir for 1 minute.
- Pour tomato sauce in and stir for 1 minute. Stir in water and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the stove. Set the sauce aside.
- Preheat a skillet on medium heat. Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tbsp garlic, onion and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir green bell pepper in and cook for 1 minute. Stir corn in and cook for 2 minutes.
- Put the chicken in and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the red kidney beans, 1 cup enchilada sauce and turn off the stove.
- Place one tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon the chicken filling on to the tortilla and start rolling. We’re making 8 rolls, so try to divide it evenly.
- Arrange the tortilla rolls in the baking dish.
- Pour the remaining half of enchilada sauce on top. Top with cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes.
- When it's done, take it out, remove the foil and broil for another 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and slightly golden.