Chicken Enchiladas Verdes with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - An always popular hit, lightly toasted flour tortillas are filled with shredded chicken, black beans, caramelized onions, and a delicious easy salsa verde, oozing with cheese and topped with guacamole. Take your bows now.

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One of my most requested keeper recipes!  Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese.  Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

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Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

Are you ever, by a complete fluke, in the right place at the right time?  A good 12-15 years ago, I was somehow watching an afternoon talk show, which I never do, and they brought a lady on to demonstrate how to make Chicken Enchiladas Verdes.

I have no idea how I happened to be at home watching one, with young kids underfoot, and happened to have a pencil and paper handy because I painstakingly wrote down the entire recipe while the show was going on.  (I remember we didn’t have the internet or a computer at the time).

I’ve tweaked a number of things in the recipe over the years such as swapping out the deep fried tortillas and adding in things like caramelized onions, black beans and guacamole to suit my own taste.  The recipe is forgiving so you can follow my ideas to the letter or swap and change things that suit your family.

Prepping the ingredients for Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

This recipe starts off with cooked, shredded chicken.  Oftentimes I end up making chicken enchiladas verdes for dinner simply because I’ve got leftover chicken.  A fresh rotisserie chicken or chicken leftover from another recipe is a fabulous way to jump start this recipe.

In the recipe below you’ll have enough tomatillo/cilantro sauce for two complete meals so I always make the entire amount and freeze the extra sauce.  That way if I have leftover cooked chicken and the tomatillo sauce is already made, putting together the rest of the recipe is a snap.

Take two onions of any kind (yellow, white, sweet or red) and chop or slice.  Put a little oil in a pan and heat to shimmering.  Add the cut onions, sprinkle with salt, and saute onions slowly, allowing to caramelize to a lovely medium brown, stirring as needed to keep from burning for the next 20-30 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

This could even take 45-60 minutes, it all depends on the heat you use.  I don’t mind it taking longer since I have other things I’m working on at the same time.  Set aside once done.

Let your cream cheese sit out to soften and then mash it with the 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Mix well and if after mashing a bit, the cream cheese just won’t loosen up enough to mix I like to put it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds intervals until it mixes nicely with the heavy cream.  Set aside.

If you’re starting off with uncooked chicken you’ll want to start poaching it before you begin the rest of the recipe.  Directions on how to poach chicken for a Mexican recipe are here.

How to Poach Chicken for a Mexican Recipe - Learn how to gently poach and appropriately season fresh chicken for Mexican dishes, featuring flavors of Mexican oregano, cumin, cilantro, cinnamon and more.

Next grab your food processor so you can begin making the tomatillo/cilantro sauce.  If this is the first time you’re working with tomatillos click here to learn my favorite trick for husking, and making them non-sticky (!), in 10 seconds.  Once husked, cut into quarters and throw into your food processor.

How to Peel Tomatillos in 10 Seconds - there's an easy way to both peel tomatillos and get rid of that aggravating sticky film in just 10 seconds!

Cut the tops off your jalapeños, cut in half the long way and scrape out the seeds.  If you want a super mild sauce scrape out all of the seeds otherwise leave enough seeds to make sauce your desired heat.  Cut jalapeños into halves or thirds and toss into food processor on top of tomatillos.

Add the chopped cilantro, chicken broth, salt, pepper, heavy cream and one egg.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

(Look how pretty these eggs are.  My coworker raises chickens and I buy a dozen for $3.00 from her every week.  Each egg is only a day or two old when I get them.  And yes, you can tell the difference when you crack them!)

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

Turn food processor on and process until smooth.  Set aside.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

Your poached chicken should be cool at this point so stop a moment and shred your chicken.  You can hand shred for a more rustic take or if you like it a little finer you can shred it with your Kitchenaid mixer or a hand mixer.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

How to Poach Chicken for a Mexican Recipe - Learn how to gently poach and appropriately season fresh chicken for Mexican dishes, featuring flavors of Mexican oregano, cumin, cilantro, cinnamon and more.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Before you ready your tortillas, take a moment to set up your work station.  Prepare your enchilada filling ingredients in small bowls as you’ll be working quickly once your tortillas are heated.  Have bowls ready in order with the cream cheese mixture, shredded chicken, rinsed and drained black beans, caramelized onions, tomatillo sauce and Monterey jack cheese.

You have a number of different options to ready your tortillas:

  • Wrap stack in a damp towel and just barely heat in microwave
  • Wrap stack in foil and heat in oven
  • Deep fry in a small amount of oil (delicious, but highest in calories).
    • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook tortillas individually in the hot oil for 30 seconds on each side.  Drain on paper towel.
    • Move to a slightly dampened kitchen towel and fold towel over to cover completely each time you add more.  This will both steam the cooked tortillas and keep them warm, plus it helps avoid the dreaded stiffening.
  • Char over gas stove rings (my preferred method)
    • If you have a gas stove, set your burner to the lowest temperature that gives you the widest rings.  Place one tortilla on top of each burner and keep an eye on them.  Turn over around the 45 second point, as it’s starting to char.  You may need to flip back and forth a couple of times to get them just right.
    • The second side should take less time than the first.  Move to a slightly dampened kitchen towel and fold towel over to cover completely each time you add more.  This will both steam the cooked tortillas and keep them warm, plus it helps avoid the dreaded stiffening.

Choose your best tortilla method and prepare your tortillas. Ladle a small amount of tomatillo sauce in the base of a large baking pan to help keep it from sticking.  (Like you would if you were making lasagne).

Assembling the Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Moving quickly, begin to assemble your enchiladas.  Remove each tortilla and recover the rest with the towel.  Layer tortilla with cream cheese mixture, shredded chicken, black beans and caramelized onions.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat for the rest of the enchiladas.  You may find you need to use two baking dishes, I always do.  Pour tomatillo sauce over the top of the enchildas, but leave the edges of the tortillas free to they can crisp up in the oven.  Sprinkle the Chicken Enchiladas Verdes with the Monterey jack cheese and any leftover cilantro.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

Bake covered for 20 minutes and then uncover and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes to brown the top.  Top with a dollop of guacamole before serving.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes - One of my most requested keeper recipes! Chicken Enchiladas Verdes is stuffed with shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and black beans then topped with a homemade tomatillo and cilantro green sauce and cheese. Everyone who tries it comes back for seconds and thirds.

What is your favorite method of heating the tortillas?  Comment below or take a picture of your Chicken Enchiladas Verdes and tag #ttottblog on Instagram, I’d love to see your results!

Fondly, Kristen

 

 

 

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