Baked enchiladas in a glass dish

4 P.M. Panic: Chicken Enchiladas Verde

This recipe and photos were provided by Sally Roeckell of Table and Dish and were originally published at 365Barrington.com.

On a busy weeknight, Chicken Enchiladas Verde is an easy, quick-to-assemble and delicious meal the whole family will love. The beauty of this meal is that you can start with ready-made roasted chicken and a jar of salsa. Yes, you will always find me waving my “homemade is better” flag, but in this case a fresh roaster chicken from Heinen’s is a pretty good option if you don’t have time to cook your own. Also, the available assortment of really delicious ready-made salsas makes this recipe a good alternative to completely homemade. You can make your own salsa verde if you wish. It’s a simple green tomatillo salsa made with garlic, onion and peppers. If you decide to buy it ready-made, look for a salsa with medium heat.

Enchiladas in a glass dish, unbaked

Chicken, spinach and cheese mix

Chicken Enchiladas Verde

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 cups (16 ounces) salsa verde, store-bought
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped, plus more for serving
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken.  You can poach your own or simply use the meat of a Heinen’s roaster chicken.
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese blend.
  • 12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • Your choice of toppings.

I like to serve enchiladas with taco toppings like tomato, lettuce, olives, onions, avocado and spicy sour cream (recipe below.)

Enchilada toppings in bowls

Spicy Sour Cream

  • 1 large clove finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 TBS. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Franks original hot sauce or Cholula hot sauce

Simply stir ingredients to combine.

Method

For the Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat then cook garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the salsa verde and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from the heat then stir in the sour cream and cilantro. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt, pepper or more sour cream if the sauce is too spicy.
  • Set aside about 1 cup of the sauce for assembling the enchiladas.

For the Chicken Filling:

  • Stir the shredded chicken, spinach, red onion and 1 cup of the cheese into the sauce that has not been set aside.

To Finish:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and spread a little reserved sauce on the bottom.
  • Add about 1/3 cup of the chicken filling to the middle of each tortilla and roll into a cylinder. Repeat, lining up tortillas, seam-side down, tightly in the dish.
  • Spread the reserved sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer, until the cheese is melted. Serve with cilantro and your favorite toppings.

True confession: This time when I made this recipe I got sidetracked while multitasking work — a phone call, the kids’ homework, a conversation with my husband, a load of laundry and a package delivery at the door — only to realize I had ignored the timer and left the enchiladas in a bit too long. As you can see, the tops of the tortillas got a bit brown and toasty. To save the day, I added a handful of extra cheese and carefully watched it until it melted over the darker areas in an attempt to hide them. Normally, we cut into a pan of food from one side and follow one piece at a time. At dinner, my gang wanted to cut into the middle and take portions from the areas where the burnt edges were. When I asked why they said the darker, crunchy areas were the best part and they asked if I would do it this way from now on.  So what I thought was a fail turned out to be a winner.

Baked enchiladas in a glass dish

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