Chicken Enchilada Verde (full recipe)

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)

3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (~1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (maybe 2 to 3 breasts)

1 ½ pounds tomatillos (16 to 20 medium), husks and stems removed, rinsed and dried

3 poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, stemmed, and seeded (leave some of the”ribs” and leaves for a spicier version)

1 – 2 ½ teaspoons sugar

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (no stems if possible)

8 ounces (1 block) pepper Jack cheese, grated (~2 cups)

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

For the Chicken

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until “shiny” and slightly “popping”; add onion stirring frequently for ~6 to 8 minutes. Add half of the garlic and cumin, coriander and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly for ~30 seconds. Decrease heat to lowest setting and stir in broth. Add chicken, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to bowl and cool for ~20 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup liquid from pan.

Note: You can move along to the salsa while it cools at this point but I Wanted to keep the chicken prep in the same place.

When the chicken is cooled enough to handle (if you can, the chicken pulls easier when warm using two forks) pull chicken into shreds with your hands or two forks. You can either tear into some smaller pieces or move to a cutting board and chop, I leave in smaller shreds; this is all about taste/texture. Add 3/4 (~1.5 cups) of the shredded cheese and cilantro, pinch of salt.

For the Salsa Verde

Adjust oven rack highest positions and start broiler.

While it heats, line a baking sheet with foil and toss tomatillos and poblanos with 2 teaspoons oil; place on sheet with poblanos skin-side up. Broil until they are blackened and starting to soften, 5 to 10 minutes, turn the pan halfway through cooking. Cool until you can handle (maybe 10-15 minutes), then remove skin from poblanos only (leave tomotillos whole); transfer both to food processor.

Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Add 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, remaining garlic, and reserved cooking liquid to food processor; pulse until sauce is somewhat chunky, about 10 pushes on the “pulse” button. Add salt and pepper if desired, set sauce aside (you should have~3 cups).

Compile the Dish

Spray or brush tortillas lightly with olive oil and place in oven quickly (~3 minutes) at 350; once done, increase heat back to 450. Spread some salsa verde in the bottom of a 9×13 pan and spread some filling along the center of the torillas, roll and place (seam side down so they don’t open) in the dish on top of the salsa verde.

Pour remaining salsa over the tortillas in the pan (making sure to coat each tortilla on the top) and sprinkle with cheese; cover and place in oven. Bake for ~20 minutes until cheese is melted.

Remove from oven (remove foil) and serve with scallions, cilantro, radishes (optional but a great addition if you shave them into thin slices like with a potato peeler) and avacado crema (see below).

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Avacado Lime Crema

2 ripe avacados

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped

1 cup Mexican Crema (you can use sour cream, if you do add 2 tbsp lime zest)

1/8 cup whole milk

Pinch of salt and pepper

1/2 large jalapeno seeded and cleaned (remove the white “ribs” to reduce the heat)

Juice from 2 limes and 1 tbsp lime zest

Place all in a blender and pulse until creamy. I place in one of these for easy use and storing (less mess).