Chicken Enchiladas With Salsa Verde

Everyday Steve’s telling me about how certain items have been either discontinued or are out-of-stock at our local grocery store. When I’m not home, one of his favorite “go-to” quick-making dinners are the pre-packaged frozen Enchiladas. I told him, the first chance I had, I would make him my Chicken Enchiladas With Salsa Verde.

We know there have been some supply chain issues with all kinds of products lately. I feel like, we are living in different times.

The only shortcut I’m taking for this recipe is using store-bought flour tortillas instead of corn. Both are delicious when making Enchiladas. I’m going to be making my salsa verde from scratch and the chicken is poached in a seasoned chicken broth. This is going to be insanely delicious.

The other thing I want to mention is, this dish is a labor of love and it’s just as easy to make 2 pans as it is to make one. Enchiladas will last in the freezer up to 3 months, and still taste delicious when thawed and baked again. Directions for freezing Enchiladas are at the bottom of this post.

If you didn’t want to go through all the trouble of making everything from scratch, you could save prep time by buying a Rotisserie chicken and jarred Tomatilla salsa. This would definitely work for a weeknight meal.

If you’re using corn tortillas, for this recipe, you’ll need to soften the tortillas before filling them. I’ve posted the directions for softening corn tortillas at the bottom of this post.

Prep  Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 18 to 20 Enchiladas
Equipment: blender, chef’s knife, paring knife, meat-safe cutting board, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 large mixing bowl, 3 Tupperware containers with lids, 2 forks, tongs, small ladle, 1 (4-quart) saucepot 1 (9 x 13 x 2) inch baking dish, 1 (8 x 11 x 2) inch baking dish, aluminum foil

Ingredients For Poached Chicken:
4 skinless-boneless chicken breasts, rom temperature
1 quart of chicken broth, unsalted, substitute water
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of ground cumin

2 pounds of tomatillos, papery husks removed, rinsed
2 Poblano peppers
1 jalapeno
1 large Spanish (white) onion, peeled and cut in half
1 bulb of fresh garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, for the garlic and the vegetables
Kosher salt, for the garlic and the vegetables
Fresh ground black pepper for the garlic

1 bunch of cilantro, stems removed for salsa verde
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, for salsa verde
1 lime,1 juiced for salsa verde
2 packages (10 per pack) of 8-inch flour tortillas
Mexican Crema
16 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese (yields approx. 4 cups freshly grated)
1 1/2 cups of Queso Fresco, crumbled
1 red onion finely diced, the remaing use for serving
1 bunch of Cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons, finely minced
4 limes for serving, cut into wedges as needed

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Directions For Poaching Chicken:
Start by placing the 4 room temperature chicken breasts, in a single layer, in the bottom of a large saucepot. Cover the chicken breasts with, by at least 2 inches, with chicken broth. Add ground cumin, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Over medium heat, allow the cooking liquid to come up to a bubble. This takes a few minutes. For the most tender chicken, don’t rush this process. Once the cooking liquid start to bubble, lower the heat, cook the chicken at a low simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperarture reads 165-degrees F. or the juices run clear when you pierce the chicken with a knife. Times may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Using two forks, finely shred the chicken and transfer to a bowl. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.

Directions For Roasting Vegetables:
While the chicken is poaching, lay out the tomatillas, top side down onto 1 baking sheet pan, refer to pictures above. On the other baking sheet pan, arrange the peppers and the onion halves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

For the garlic bulb, (I’m doing all the garlic I have on hand but only 1 bulb is neede for this recipe), slice the top end off lengthwise as seen above. Place the garlic on a small piece of foil. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Wrap up the garlic so the bulb is completely enclosed, refer to the pictures above. Place the covered garlic bulb on the baking sheet pan with the onion and peppers. Transfer both pans to the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Halfway through cooking, turn the peppers over to char the other side. You’re looking for the tomatillas to have popped and also be charred. Again refer to the pictures above.

Note: When you roast garlic, the garlic becomes sweet so it’s not overpowering any of the other flavors.

Once the vegtables come out of the oven, unwrap the garlic to cool. Place the peppers into a large mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic. Let sit for 10 minutes.

To the blender add the tomatillas with any juice from the pan, the onion. Hold the bulb of garlic upside down and squeese the garlic cloves right into the blender. Set aside.

Set one of the Poblano peppers on the board, using a paring knife, remove the skin. If you don’t get all the skin off it’s ok, you want some of the charred skin. Cut the top off, open the pepper up and scrape out all the seeds. Repeat this process for the remaining Poblano pepper and the jalapeno. Drop into the blender. Next add 1 bunch of the cilantro, stems removed. Finally the juice of 1 lime and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

To a large mxing bowl add the shredded chicken. Add 3/4 cup of the tomatilla salsa. Using a pair of tongs, toss to combine. Once mixed, transfer the chicken back to its original bowl.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Note: I just happen to have 2 different size baking dishes, 1 (9 x 13 x 2) and one 1 (8 x 11 x 2). If you have 2 of the same size go ahead and use those, splitting the tortillas up between the two baking dishes.

To the bottom of the large baking dish add 1/3 cup of tomatilla salsa and to the bottom of the smaller size baking dish add 1/4 cup of the salsa. Spread the salsa evenly on the bottom of both baking dishes.

Lay a tortilla on a board. On the bottom third of the tortilla scoop a good spoonful of the chicken and 1 tablespoon of the Monterey Jack cheese. Roll up the tortilla and place the rolled tortilla seam side down into the baking dish. Repeat until all the chicken is finished and you should end up with anywhere between 18 and 20 filled tortillas.

With a small ladle, ladle the remaining salsa verde over the tops of the filled tortillas as seen in the pictures above. I do them in strips lengthwise. Top each of baking dish of Enchiladas, divided evenly, with the grated Monterey Jack cheese. Next, add 1/2 cup of the crumbled Queso Fresco to the top of each dish. Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced Cilantro to the top of each dish.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and lightly golden brown.

Garnish with Mexican Crema, diced red onion, more crumbled Queso Fresco, and roughly chopped Cilantro leaves. Serve immediately along with lime wedges, any remaining cheese, and diced red onion.

There you have it, my Chicken Enchiladas With Salsa Verde.

Directions For Freezing Enchiladas;
Assemble the enchiladas up to the point of adding the cheese on top..
2.) Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap a couple of times then cover with foil…
3). When ready to eat, let the enchiladas thaw in the frige overnight.
4). Add cheese, cover and bake at 350-degrees F. for 25 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
5). Garnish with Mexican Crema, diced red onion, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Notes: Use a cast-iron skillet.
Directions For Softening Corn Tortillas:
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla to the pan a let it sizzle for approx. 10 seconds. Use a metal spatula to flip it to the other side. Let it sizzle for a few seconds. Place another  tortilla on top of the one (to soak up the excess oil) and flip again. You can keep going, stacking corn tortillas on top of the tortillas that appear to have excess oil. This way the new tortillas absorb some of the excess fat from the other tortillas. When the tortillas are heated through, remove them to a plate lined with papper towel. Add more oil to the pan as needed, continue to heat through and soften the remaining tortillas.