Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Don't you love the feeling you get when you realize you have everything you need in your refrigerator to make a specific recipe you've been wanting to make? Or even when you don't have all the ingredients you know you can substitute that ingredient for something else you have and that you don't need to go to the grocery store after all? ::Sigh:: I love not grocery shopping (refer to Graham Crackers post).

I made a few substitutions and used ingredients I had on hand. I used flour tortillas instead of corn and I also used a combination of cheddar cheese and mozzarella. The end result was a slightly sweet, spicy and cheesy dish that was incredibly addicting.

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce
adapted from Pink Parsley, orginally from America's Test Kitchen
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded (I used mozzarella cheese)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas, (I used flour tortillas)
  • cooking spray

Combine the onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through  about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the reserved onion mixture. Add 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine. Here's the important part...taste it! Season with more salt or pepper if needed. I ended up adding another teaspoon of salt to the filling.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly (skip this step if you don't like the crunch).

Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream and salsa.


  1. These look amazing and i think i have everything i need to make them which i totally wasnt expecting!!! hurrah! :) They look utterly gorgggeeouuusss, really excited about finding this and the recipe sounds divine, lovely!

  2. I found this via tastespotting this afternoon and had to make these tonight and they are AMAZING. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  3. I made these Chicken Enchiladas and they turned out great. I did modify the recipe a little by creating a green sauce instead of a red sauce. These were easy to make and tasted wonderful. Thanks for the great Chicken Enchilada recipe.

  4. Just made this recipe last night and all I can say is even the leftovers were fought over. So yummy...absolutely my all time favorite enchiladas. Thanks again Christa for another wonderful recipe. Jess


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