Chicken Enchilada

Somewhere along the way, Lane and I had the genius idea that I should just start bringing stuff over to his house ahead of the move.  So during the day, while watching the just-shy-of-one-year-old (whose new nickname on here is going to be Petunia, because that’s what I call her for no real reason), I have been packing up my closet and assorted items and loading them in my car to haul over and then unpack at Lane’s.  This has made for some long and stressful days.  I try to cram most of it in during her nap time, but even that has a limit.  The upside is that this has proven that I don’t have nearly as much stuff as I thought I did.

Somehow, despite these long days, I decided chicken enchiladas would be a fantastic dinner.  After giving the recipe the once-over, I figured on about an hour from start to finish for making these.  I’m not entirely sure where I went wrong (my best guess is I prepped and pulled out ingredients slowly), but they took about an hour and a half.  Ordinarily, a half hour wouldn’t irritate me so much, but on this particular night, I was ready to stab someone.  I exclaimed “It’s eight, and we haven’t eaten and I’m tiiiiiired.”  It was some whining that puts Petunia’s to shame.

When I took the first bite of these enchiladas, all whining ceased.  They’re that good.  If you’ve been making enchiladas with a canned sauce (hey, I’ve been there), stop immediately.  Without many ingredients, you can make an enchilada sauce from scratch, and it’s amazing.  I think cooking the chicken in the sauce was a great way to go, it really gave the chicken great flavor and gave the whole dish more flavor throughout.   These are really worth the wait.

Chicken Enchiladas


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb.  boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 C. extra-sharp white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 C Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 C. minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 10-inch flour tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • salt and ground black pepper


Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 tsp. salt, and oil in a large saucepan.

Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, for 8-10 minutes until the onions and peppers have softened.

Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook for 30 seconds (just until fragrant).

Stir in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato.

Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5 minutes, until sauce thickens.

Place the chicken into the sauce and reduce heat to low.

Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through about 12-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts (internal temperature should read 160 degrees at the thickest part).

Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

Pour the sauce into a strainer placed over a medium bowl.

Press on the mixture to extract as much liquid as possible and then place the solids into a large bowl and set aside.

Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to the onion mixture.

Add 1/4 C. of the enchilada sauce, 1 C. cheese, and the cilantro to the onion mixture and toss to combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, then microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds.

Spread the tortillas out onto a clean work surface, and spoon about 1/3 C. of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla.

Tightly roll each tortilla and lay it seam-side down in a greased 9×13 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.

Reduce the heat to 400.

Remove enchiladas and pour the sauce evenly on top.

Top with the remaining cheese.

Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 enchiladas, 6 servings.

Source: Pink Parsley, originally from America’s Test Kitchen


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