Chicken Enchiladas

In today’s 12 Days of Oscar installment, we move to four films that have won an Oscar.  The first Oscar winner this year is the 2006 film Babel.   Babel is a multi-narrative drama following three stories that intersect at varying plot points.  In Morocco, a goat herder has given his son and a friend a rifle to shoot jackals that have been preying on his goats.  Testing out the rifle, the boys shoot at various things including a bus full of tourists.  On that bus are tourists Susan and Richard Jones.  Susan is hit by a bullet in the shoulder, and Richard calls home to let Amelia, the children’s nanny, know that she will have to stay with his children Debbie and Mike as their trip home has been delayed by Susan’s injury.  Amelia had planned to go to Mexico for her son’s wedding and, unable to make other arrangements for the children, brings them with her.  Meanwhile, in Japan, rebellious teen Chieko believes the police have arrived to question her father Yasujiro about her mother’s recent suicide.  The police are actually there to question Yasujiro about his sale of a gun to the goat herder.  Babel was nominated for six Oscars: Best Picture, two for Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Writing for an Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.  Babel won one Oscar, for Best Original Score.


At the few places in the movie where there is food, it usually comes right before something bad happens.  I’m not sure if this was intentional but it’s an interesting observation.  Richard and Susan have a tense lunch in Morocco before getting back on the bus where she is ultimately shot in the arm.  Amelia feeds the kids quesadillas for breakfast on the morning they travel to Mexico, a trip .  When Amelia sees that more and more wedding guests are arriving, she instructs one daughter to make two more pots of rice, and to have six more chickens killed.  She instructs another daughter to heat up more tortillas.

Enchiladas sounded like a great way to use up some chicken and tortillas to me, and I was right.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here- please stop using canned enchilada sauce. Okay, if canned enchilada sauce is really all that’s keeping you from making enchiladas or not then go ahead and use it, but know that it just won’t be as good as making your own.  The sauce for these is different than the sauce for my old recipe for these, and oh-so-much better.

chicken enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas


for the enchilada sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder (not cayenne!)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 C. chicken or vegetable stock

for the enchiladas:

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch small pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 large flour tortillas (store-bought or homemade)
  • 3 C. Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 1/4 C. chopped cilantro (optional)


To make the sauce, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the flour and stir it with the oil for 1 minute.

Stir in the remaining seasonings and then gradually whisk in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps.

Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes until thick.

To make the enchiladas, start by heating the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes.

Add the diced chicken and the chiles, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken mixture from the heat and set it aside.

Assemble the enchiladas by laying out a tortilla and spreading 2 Tbsp. of sauce over the surface.

Add beans in a line down the middle of the tortilla, then do the same with a spoonful of the chicken mixture.

Sprinkle with about 1/3 C. of cheese.

Roll up the tortilla and place it in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.

Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings.

Spread the remaining enchilada sauce of top of the enchiladas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and, if desired, sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Gimme Some Oven




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