Verde Chicken Enchiladas in a White Casserole Dish atop a Wooden Cutting Board

VERDE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Nostalgic and Delicious

Verde chicken enchiladas evoke a nostalgic charm that transports me back to family dinners, festive gatherings, and the warm, comforting embrace of home-cooked meals.

This dish, beloved for its perfect blend of savoury chicken, tangy verde sauce, and soft tortillas, all generously covered with melted cheese, stands as a testament to the richness of culinary traditions that span generations.

It’s not just about the flavours that dance harmoniously on the palate; it’s also about the memories and emotions that each bite resurrects.

The process of making verde chicken enchiladas begins with the preparation of the verde sauce. A vibrant green concoction made from tomatillos, green chilies, onions, and cilantro, all blended together to achieve a sauce that is both tangy and slightly spicy.

This sauce is the soul of the dish, setting it apart from its red sauce counterparts and giving it a distinctive, fresh flavor.

The chicken, usually shredded for ease of eating and distribution throughout the dish, is seasoned and cooked to perfection before being rolled up in soft corn tortillas.

This ensemble is then drenched in the verde sauce and sprinkled generously with cheese, ready to be baked until everything melds together in a glorious, bubbling cauldron of flavors.

Serving Verde Chicken Enchiladas is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate. Garnished with fresh cilantro, slices of avocado, dollops of sour cream, and a squeeze of lime, each plate is a vibrant tableau of colors and textures.

It’s a dish that invites sharing, bringing people together around the table to partake in not just a meal, but an experience—a reminder of the power of food to evoke nostalgia, to comfort, and to connect.

Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, verde chicken enchiladas remain a timeless classic that continues to delight and satisfy.

A TASTE OF HOME

Having been raised just north of the Mexican border, I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of  ‘south of the border’ cuisine, like this chicken enchiladas recipe.

Ingredients for authentic, Hispanic recipes are abundant in that region, but up here in the true north, maybe not so much. I’m just a little farther away now.

So, what do I do to satisfy the craving? I just check out local specialty stores. These hidden gems often carry a surprising array of international ingredients that can transport your taste buds back to the heart of Mexico or the Southwestern US.

From unique spices to specific varieties of chiles and tomatillos, these stores can be treasure troves for the discerning cook.

Moreover, engaging with store owners can offer additional insights into substituting hard-to-find items with more accessible ones without compromising the authenticity of your dishes.

Growing your own ingredients is another commendable strategy. It not only ensures a supply of fresh, authentic ingredients but also deepens your connection to the food you prepare.

Starting with herbs like cilantro and Mexican oregano, or even venturing into growing tomatillos and various types of peppers, can turn your garden into a small slice of Mexican culinary paradise.

Your own culinary journey can be a delightful testament to the power of adaptability and the pursuit of flavour, no matter where you are.

Embracing the essence of ‘south of the border’ cuisine while nestled in the true north showcases an inventive spirit that bridges cultures through food.

The quest for authentic ingredients may present challenges, but your approach will be both creative and resourceful.

GROWING YOUR OWN HARD-TO-FIND INGREDIENTS

In the heart of “Winterpeg,” where the winters are long and the growing season short yet intense, our local gardens produce an array of vibrant, spicy peppers that are perfect for crafting mouth-watering dishes.

By incorporating tomatillos, peppers, garlic, onion and cilantro, grown in our longer daylight hours, the enchiladas gain an intensity and juiciness not necessarily found in traditional recipes.

These chicken enchiladas not only celebrates our local produce but also introduces a homemade sauce that elevates the dish to new heights.

While the sauce recipe will be shared soon, don’t hesitate to use a high-quality store-bought sauce to save time without sacrificing flavor.

This easy to make enchiladas recipe was created to represent the resilience and adaptability of local cuisine, transforming what might be seen as limitations into strengths.

The shorter growing season and unique Canadian climate challenge us to be more creative and resourceful in our cooking, leading to innovations and variations that enrich our culinary landscape.

So, embrace the local peppers and ingredients available to you, and let this enchilada recipe be a starting point for exploring the flavourful possibilities.

Total Prep Time:
1 hour

Servings in Recipe:
5

Serving Size:
2 enchiladas

Calories Per Serving:
497

Total Prep Time: 1 hour


Servings in Recipe: 5


Serving Size: 2 enchiladas


Calories Per Serving: 497

Verde Chicken Enchiladas in a White Casserole Dish atop a Wooden Cutting Board

VERDE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz fresh spinach (or frozen, thawed and drained), chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 10-pack (6-8 inch) flour tortillas
  • Green enchilada sauce
Verde Chicken Enchilada Ingredients. Tortillas, Green Enchilada Sauce, Cilantro, Cheese, Green Onions and Shredded Chicken
Verde Chicken Enchilada Ingredients. Tortillas, Green Enchilada Sauce, Cilantro, Cheese, Green Onions and Shredded Chicken

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375F/190C
  • Coat a 9×14 baking dish with butter or cooking spray
  • Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a dutch oven or large pot
  • Raise heat to medium and add cubed chicken, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste
  • Cook for 10 minutes or until a light golden colour and cooked through
  • When done, set aside in a separate bowl
  • Add remaining tbsp of butter to pot to melt
  • Sprinkle green onion and garlic around pot, saute’ for 3 minutes or until edges begin to brown
  • Add spinach and stir to combine (2-3 minutes for fresh. 5-6 minutes for frozen)
  • When spinach is heated through, return the chicken to the pan, stir and allow the flavours to meld for about 2 minutes.
  • Add ricotta cheese and sour cream. Allow these two ingredients to melt and thoroughly combine with other ingredients in the pot
  • Add two-thirds of the shredded mozzarella to the pot, stir to combine.
  • Once ingredients are melted and heated through remove the pot from the heat
  • Soften tortillas ( with a little oil in a heated pan or put each one in the microwave for 20 seconds)
  • Once heated, place each tortilla in coated baking dish and ladle a generous portion of chicken mixture into each one. Fold the ends of the tortilla together, around the chicken mixture, then turn it over so that the folded ends are underneath
  • Pour the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas, making sure to evenly cover
  • Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over top
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is slightly brown and sauce is bubbling.
  • Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

VERDE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS FAQ

What is enchiladas verde made of?

Enchiladas verde, a beloved dish in Mexican cuisine, is a vibrant and flavourful feast that delights the senses. At its core, this dish consists of corn tortillas rolled around a filling, typically of shredded chicken, though variations with beef, cheese, or beans are also popular.

The defining feature of enchiladas verde is the green sauce from which its name is derived (“verde” meaning green in Spanish).

This sauce is a blend of green tomatillos and green chili peppers, such as jalapeños or serranos, giving the dish its characteristic tangy and slightly spicy flavour. Fresh ingredients like cilantro, garlic, and onion are often added to the sauce for depth and complexity.

Why do my enchiladas keep falling apart?

Enchiladas falling apart can be a frustrating issue, but it’s usually due to a few common factors that can be easily addressed.

First, the type of tortillas you use plays a significant role. Corn tortillas are traditional for enchiladas because they hold up better to the moisture of the sauce and moist filling compared to flour tortillas.

If you’re using flour tortillas or low-quality corn tortillas, they might disintegrate or become too soggy during baking.

To combat this, lightly frying the tortillas in a bit of oil before assembling your enchiladas can help them maintain their structure by creating a slight barrier that reduces the absorption of liquid.

Another factor could be the moisture content of your filling or the amount of sauce used. Overly wet fillings can make the tortillas soggy from the inside out, causing them to fall apart.

Ensure your filling is not too moist by draining any excess liquid from cooked ingredients or you can incorporate ingredients that absorb moisture, like cheese or rice.

When it comes to sauce, while it’s essential for flavour and preventing the enchiladas from drying out, too much sauce can lead to sogginess. Try to find a balance by ensuring the enchiladas are coated but not swimming in sauce.

Lastly, the baking process itself can contribute to the problem. Covering the enchiladas with foil for part of the baking time can prevent them from drying out.

But, removing the foil towards the end of baking allows the top to become slightly crispy, which can help hold everything together.

Also, letting the enchiladas set for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven gives them time to firm up slightly, making them easier to serve without falling apart.

By tweaking these aspects of your enchilada preparation, you should find your enchiladas maintain their structure better, resulting in a dish that’s as delightful to serve as it is to eat.


SUGGESTED SIDES and PAIRINGS for VERDE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Tangy Cold Slaw with
Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing

Tossed Greens with
Avocado Dressing

Adobo Rice with Cilantro

Refried Beans
with Melted Queso Fresco

Grüner Veltliner
Sauvignon Blanc

Castillo De Almansa Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc

Jenni Juniper | Culinary Meditations
Jenni Juniper | Culinary Meditations