Chicken Enchiladas: Make the Takeout
Mexican comfort food goes by the name of enchiladas, for those of us who love the warm tortillas, rolled, bursting with savory fillings, and bathed in a spicy sauce (such as adobo or mole). It’s also a comfort to your wallet to make enchiladas at home instead of stopping by your favorite taqueria to pick up a batch for dinner. They couldn’t be easier to make (you can use store-bought tortillas, or go all out and make your own, with this corn tortilla recipe), and you can experiment with fillings from simple chiles and cheese to beef to sautéed spinach and mushroom to chicken.
In his wonderful cookbook Truly Mexican, chef Roberto Santibañez recommends softening the tortillas by “heating two tablespoons of mild olive oil or vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Put a tortilla in the oil (which should be hot enough so that it sizzles around the edges of the tortilla) for 8 to 12 seconds. Then turn it with tongs and cook until the other side bubbles but the tortilla is soft, about 8 to 12 seconds more. Transfer the tortilla with tongs to paper towels and blot on both sides. ”
The easiest chicken enchiladas of all may be chef Santibañez’s “Super Simple Enchiladas,” in which you submerge softened tortillas in a cooking salsa (such as adobo), then fold them, and top them with chopped white onion, cilantro, a drizzle of sour cream, crumbled queso fresco, and chicken.
On a superbusy nighty, you can make these Picante Chicken Enchiladas with jarred salsa. Creamy Chicken Enchiladas are perfect for a family dinner or a party: they’re filled with shredded chicken, spicy green chiles, spinach, and green onions, and have a sour cream and yogurt sauce spiked with cumin.
The Mexican enchilada (which means “with chile”) is the one we know best, but Latin American countries from Guatamala (whose enchilada is an open-face tortilla topped with meat, egg, herbs, dry cheese, and mixed vegetables known as curtido) to Honduras (tortillas are topped with ground meat, sliced boiled egg, and shredded dry cheese) have their distinct varieties. In other words, one size enchilada, does not fit all.
See all our chicken enchilada recipes!