As some of you may have noticed, my go to cuisine is mexican food, so I figured it was about time to share one of my favorite recipes with you all: Red Chicken Enchiladas. To preface this, I determine the awesomeness of a mexican restaurant based on two things: the chips and salsa (because obviously) and their enchiladas. I almost always go red sauce, and chicken is mandatory. Ergo, I have high standards when it comes to that delectable dish. With this recipe however, you won’t need to go out to a restaurant to get a perfectly creamy, flavorful, and seriously delicious enchilada ever again.
Secret 1 for perfect Red Chicken Enchiladas: Poaching the chicken in an aromatic broth. You can totally use already cooked, shredded chicken to use up leftovers slash save time BUT this step will really flavor and moisten the chicken before ever using any spices or sauce.
Secret 2 for perfect Red Chicken Enchiladas: Double sauce the enchiladas. Say what now?? I shall explain. This keeps the enchiladas from drying out. The WORST enchilada is a dry enchilada. To avoid this, I dip the corn tortillas lightly in enchilada sauce before filling them and then topping them with MORE sauce. Doitdoitdoit. The moist, creamy enchiladas you get as a result are totally worth the extra step.
And finally Secret 3: Make your own spice blend. Really though. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry and the others are in the same aisle as the corn tortillas and green chiles you need at the store. SO easy SO worth it. Those spice blends at the store have honestly been sitting there for who knows how long, getting beyond stale and loosing a ton of their original flavor, wreaking havoc on your homemade enchiladas.
Well there you have it! Three major secrets that are sure to make you an expert Red Chicken Enchilada maker. Now that you have the inside scoop, next time you get a hankering for a creamy, red sauce enchiladas, save yourself the restaurant tab and whip these up instead!
For the Enchiladas
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 lb chicken breast
- Handful of cilantro, stems attached
- 1 yellow onion (1/2 quartered and 1/2 diced)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 4 oz can diced green chilis
- 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 1 tablespoon el pato
- 2 cups cheddar and monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 10 6-inch corn tortillas
- Cilantro leaves, thinly sliced chives, sour cream for garnish
For the Homemade Mexican Spice Blend
- 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9X13 baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for Mexican spice blend. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Add chicken breast, stemmed cilantro, onion, garlic, and peppercorns and return to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken to a bowl and discard contents of pot. Using two forks, shred the chicken apart.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until they become translucent and start to brown.
- Add the chicken, green chilis, el pato, and Mexican spice blend to the pot, stirring to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
- While chicken mixture is cooking, spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Pour about 1/4 cup into a shallow bowl.
- Warm the corn tortillas on the stove or in the microwave (30 seconds).
- Assemble the enchiladas: Dip tortillas into the sauce in the shallow bowl and shake gently to remove excess. Spoon about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture onto each tortilla and top with a pinch of the shredded cheeses. Gently roll up each tortilla and place in the baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
- Cook for 15 minutes, until cheese has melted and sauce is slightly bubbling around the edges.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves, chives and sour cream if desired.