How to Make Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

There’s a whole lot going on in green chile chicken enchiladas. You’ve got cooked chicken, sometimes cooked vegetables, cheese, tomatillo poblano sauce, corn tortillas and that’s all before you even start thinking about building the enchiladas. I wanted to make a full flavored version for a weeknight which meant I needed to strategize. One area I knew I needed to focus my energies was on a fresh sauce and that meant starting with fresh ingredients. I have three poblanos, stars of this sauce.

I’m going to cut off the stems, cut them in half and working over my garbage bowl, I’m going to get rid of all the seeds. Next, I have an onion and I’m just going to cut this into wedges. Like I said, keeping it easy. I’ll cut this through the root so we can hold all of the pieces together. Cut off the top and then I’ll take the peel off.

Now that I’ve cut this in half, I’ll cut each half into quarters and last but certainly not least, I have a jalapeno.

So same goes for this. We’ll cut off the stem, cut it in half and I’m removing all of the ribs and the seeds so we’re gonna keep this a little bit on the mild side but if you like a spicy green chile sauce then you can reserve those seeds and save them to add later. We’re making this fresh sauce but we need to use some canned tomatillos. It’s really difficult to find fresh tomatillos all year round.

Canned are very consistent and easy to find. So I’ve drained these and I’ll add them to my sheet pan with the rest of my ingredients and then finally, a good hit of garlic. I’ve got five cloves of garlic. I’m going to drizzle this whole operation with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and then I’m going to use my best kitchen tongs to give this a good toss just gently to make sure that everything is coated with that oil.

I do wanna spend some time arranging just the chilies.

So the poblanos and the jalapeno, I wanna make sure that they are facing skin side up. This sheet pan is headed for the broiler. I have it all set up. My oven rack is set six inches below the broiler element and the broiler is hot. 15 minutes in the broiler.

I’ll go in halfway through broiling and rotate the sheet pan.

(calm music) The vegetables are out of the broiler. I’ve let them rest for 15 minutes just so they cool down a bit and you can see they’re really nice and blackened in spots and that’s going to yield some really great flavor. Now, you might be thinking, we roasted chilies, we’ve gotta peel off the skins. Not so.

This whole operation’s going into the blender. It’s gonna process everything really smoothly. So into the blender we go. Any juices that are on the sheet pan should go in there as well.

Now, I’ll loosen this up with some water.

This is a quarter cup. This is a quarter cup of cilantro. I have a teaspoon of ground cumin, teaspoon of table salt, teaspoon of pepper, teaspoon of dried oregano and I think it’s the most important ingredient, a teaspoon of sugar and that’s going to help balance all of these strong flavors, the sourness from the tomatillos and the bitterness from those charred skins.

I’ll blend this for 30 seconds on high and go in there periodically if I need to scrape down the jar. Oh, this is great.

It’s super smooth. We got some little black flecks in there that I know are just flavor bombs. I’ll measure out a cup. We’ll use this in a few different places in this recipe. Looks good.

Now that we’ve finished with the sauce, we can focus on the filling and this is one place where we decided we could take it a little bit easier on ourselves by starting with a rotisserie chicken. This is a two and a half pound rotisserie chicken. Taken off the skin, taken out the bones, shredded it into about three cups of chicken and we also have six ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Now, for a dish like this, we often use Monterey Jack because it’s such a great melter but it’s also very mild. So sharp cheddar is gonna give us a little more oomph.

This is one and a half cups of shredded sharp cheddar. And now I’ll add my one cup of sauce. So smooth. We’ll just give this a good stir till it’s well combined. And that’s the filling.

Now, one final place where we realized we could save some time was with the tortillas. A lot of recipes have you soften the tortillas by frying them in oil on the stove top.

I’m actually going to microwave these to soften them. I have a damp kitchen towel. I’m gonna make a little home for 12 six inch corn tortillas.

We’ll fold them up. I’ll microwave these for a minute and a half. It’s time to assemble. I’ve measured out another half cup of my sauce and I’ll add that to a 13 by nine inch baking dish. I’ll just spread this all across the bottom.

And we can set this aside and start building the enchiladas. So I have my warm corn tortillas here but I’ll do this in stages. So I’m just going to take six of them for right now. I’ll fill each of these tortillas with a good packed quarter cup of filling. I find it’s easiest if I sort of smoosh the filling out along the length of the tortilla before I start to roll so it’s nice and even and you’ll roll these pretty tightly so that they’ll all fit.

And then I’ll transfer these to my baking dish in two rows with the seam side down. There we go, all nice and snug. Now, I’ll just repeat all that with the remaining six tortillas. There’s the last enchilada. We are ready for sauce.

This is the last two cups of the sauce that I will make sure gets in all the nooks and crannies. I’ll just use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce over all of the tortillas to make sure they are covered. We put cheese inside but we’re putting cheese on top too. So I have another six ounces of sharp cheddar cheese that I’ve shredded, another cup and a and a half and we’ll just sprinkle this over all of this enchilada goodness.

I’ll cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Now, if you wanted to make this ahead, you could stop here and refrigerate this covered for up to 24 hours. Just have to remember to tack on 15 minutes of bake time but we’re baking this now. We’re not waiting. I turned off my broiler and I turned the heat to 400 degrees. This is going in the oven for 30 minutes.

I wanna see that all the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through. (calm music) It has been 30 very long minutes. It’s time for the unveiling.

Oh. Yes.

Melted cheese, everything’s sunken in a little bit in the best possible way. Now, I do need to let this rest and cool for 15 minutes so that I don’t completely burn my tongue when I go to eat these. I’ll just be patient. (calm music) It’s been 15 minutes. I have a tablespoon of chopped cilantro so I’ll finish this with a little freshness.

Mm. And now we’re ready to serve. So sometimes the extraction is as stressful as the whole preparation but we’re gonna do it. Let me find two really good looking ones. Sometimes two spatulas are better than one.

These will be delicious by themselves but half the fun of enchiladas is putting garnishes on top so I have some sour cream and some finely chopped onion and some avocado of course, my favorite but I’d like to add a little hot sauce now. And finally, little squeeze of lime. Moment of truth. Mm. They are so tasty.

That cheese gives you lots and lots of depth. The chicken is super tender but that sauce is so bright and fresh. I’m so glad that we focused our energies there.

These are absolutely delicious for a weeknight or any night. The keys to great weeknight enchiladas are broiling and blending chilies into a knockout sauce using rotisserie chicken and softening tortillas in the microwave.

Add a few garnishes and you’ve got yourself a winner. From Cook’s Country, green chile chicken enchiladas. – Thanks for watching Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen. So what’d you think? – Leave a comment and let us know which recipes you’re excited to make or just say hi.

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