Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

                            Muy verde! 

                            Muy verde! 

I have this fascination with all things Mexican; the gorgeous people, the rich culture, the melodic language and of course, the food!   It all started on my first business trip to Mexico City.  I was covering Deloitte Globally for Sun Microsystems at the time and our team in Mexico treated me like gold, always. They nicknamed me "Pamelita" and entertained my horridly elementary Spanish whenever I came to visit. Anyway, so began my love for all things Mexican. 

Kelly loves it when I make these. It's one of her favorite Pamelita recipes. I've made them two ways because we're trying to lose a bit of blog-induced weight! One is traditional, with corn tortillas and the other is slightly better for us; no carbs.  We rolled the enchiladas in cabbage rather than tortillas.   Both were delicious! The cabbage-rolled enchilada was surprisingly fantastic!  The cabbage gave it a tasty tang that the corn tortilla didn't have.

In my humble Italian-girl opinion, the most important part of the enchilada is the salsa verde.  The sauce is a refreshing, yet spicy addition and it's very easy to make. 

What you'll need: 

  • 6 large tomatillos (husked) 
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 white onion, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 cup, chopped cilantro, not packed
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, whole
  • 1 teaspoon Outerlimits hot sauce   
  • Food processor or blender  

In a large pot over high heat, cover the tomatillos with water and let come to a boil.  Lower to medium high heat and simmer 5-6 minutes. When they're done, their color changes to army or olive green.  Reserve  1/2 cup of the water they boiled in and toss all the ingredients into your food processor.

Voila! It's that easy.. 

The enchilada preparation is simple, as well. The chicken can me made any way you'd like but, the traditional preparation is boiled. In this recipe, you simply boil 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a pot. (You can also use chicken breasts or chicken with the skin on).  In the pot I usually add 1/2 a white onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Boil until cooked but, keep in mind, these do bake afterwards so, be careful not to overcook them. When they're done, you can start your tortilla preparation while they cool. Take a fork to each thigh and pull them a part into strips for the enchilada.

The next step is in the tortilla preparation. You'll need a big frying pan or a small frying pan and a lot of patience! I use a big frying pan and fry the corn tortillas 3 at a time. You'll need corn oil in the pan, let it get hot and place the corn tortillas in the pan. This process is not to get them crispy, it's just to get them nimble. Place in the oil for about 15 seconds each side. You can lay them on paper towels until you're ready to use them and make sure you sprinkle them with kosher salt. 

To assemble the enchiladas,  pour 1 cup of the salsa verde on the bottom of the glass 9 x 13 baking dish.   Put some chicken and shredded cheddar into each enchilada and drag it through the dish, catching some salsa.  Repeat this process until your dish is full.  

Once the pan is full, sprinkle more salsa on top and top with cheese. I bake them at 400 uncovered for 20 minutes, this gets them a little brown on the outside and allows the cheese to melt. 

Let rest for 5 minutes and garnish by sprinkling 1/4 cup white onion on top and some fresh cilantro.

And, again, for the cabbage.. same drill as the tortillas in terms of filling them but, slightly different preparation. Place the full head of cabbage into a pot, bring to a boil and let boil for 15 minutes. Take the head out of the pot and let the cabbage cool completely. Peel pieces gently off the cabbage to form your healthy "tortillas." You'll still drag the tortilla through the salsa but, you definitely don't need to fry them in oil :) 

The process for stuffing them and lining them up in the baking dish is the same as the corn tortillas. 

Let us know what you think and enjoy! xo Measure