Traditional Mexican enchiladas are much lighter than the typical restaurant dish served throughout America. Made with white corn tortillas, poached chicken breasts and a light coating of queso fresco, this dish is simple and satisfying but won’t weigh you down.
For most of my life I always assumed enchiladas were out of the question when it came to healthy eating. The rich and heavy Tex-Mex version that I’d often find in restaurants was always super heavy and coated in way too much cheese and sour cream.
My love and appreciation for enchiladas all changed when I spent a couple days in the kitchen with my photographer Raul’s mother, Gloria, to write a cookbook based on their family recipes from Mexico: The Ultimate Mexican Sunday Dinner.
Gloria showed me how to make authentic Mexican enchiladas which can be prepared either with red salsa or green salsa. Traditionally the red enchiladas are made without meat (just onion and queso fresco) and the green enchiladas (enchiladas verdes) are made with chicken.
To prepare, the tortillas are lightly fried in oil in a nonstick skillet or griddle then dipped in salsa verde to soften. This keeps the corn tortillas from breaking apart when you fill and roll them.
What surprised me most was that the enchiladas are topped with just salsa verde and a light sprinkling of queso fresco before going into the oven. My queso fresco of choice is always V&V Supremo because their cheese is authentically made in the hand-crafted style of Central Mexico with pasteurized, grade “A” whole milk cows from Midwestern farms, and no added artificial hormones.
The melted queso fresco adds the perfect amount of salty, creaminess to the dish which pairs perfectly with the fragrant corn tortillas and shredded chicken. V&V Supremo’s Mexican cheese and meat products can be found in large retail stores across the country.
What’s even better is that these enchiladas verdes don’t weigh you down like the heavier Tex Mex version.
Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, more queso fresco or a dollop of sour cream and dinner is done.
Your fork is waiting.
Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
- 2 6-ounce chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- 2 medium onions (divided)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 32 corn tortillas (preferably white corn)
- 4 cups salsa verde
- 1 cup V&V Supremo Queso Fresco (crumbled)
- cilantro and sour cream (optional to serve)
- Place the chicken breasts in a stock pot along with 1 onion peeled and quartered. Add salt and cover with water then bring pot to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from the water and let cool slightly. Shred chicken with two forks and set aside.
- Mince the remaining onion and toss together with the shredded chicken in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large frying pan or non-stick griddle over medium-high heat and add canola oil. Carefully fry each tortilla one by one, about 2 minutes per side; set aside keeping warm in a towel until you’ve fried all 32 tortillas.
- Spread 1 cup of the salsa verde in a thin layer on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Pour 2 cups of the salsa verde in a shallow pie dish and, working one by one, carefully dip each tortilla in the salsa verde, coating each side. Scoop two rounded tablespoons of the chicken and onion mixture into each tortilla and roll tightly. Place in a large pan, seam side down, in a single layer. Drench entire pan with remaining 1 cup of salsa verde and sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with sour cream, cilantro and/or additional queso fresco.
Is anyone else a little confused on how to divide 2-6 ounces of chicken between 32 tortillas? Let alone how to fit all of them in one pan? Fortunately I knew to stop frying the tortillas half way and made about 1.5 pounds of chicken. Food was delicious! Just a little unclear on the recipe.
Hey Robby! You are working with 12 ounces of chicken (not 2-6 ounces.) :) The recipe calls for TWO chicken breasts. Generally chicken breasts are 6 ounces in size. Next, the chicken breasts should be boiled and then shredded. Toss the shredded cooked chicken with the onions before distributing between the tortillas. :)
I found this recipe while searching for something to make for Cinco de Mayo yesterday. This one fit the bill and was delicious! That said, a few comments: 1) The 15-minute prep time is extremely misleading, especially when the recipe goes on to say that you should fry the tortillas one at a time, for two minutes per side. For your 32 tortillas, this would be over two hours of frying alone! As it happened, I thought that 32 enchiladas sounded like way too much, so I opted to go with 12, which leads to comment 2): I couldn’t even fit twelve enchiladas in my 9×13 baking dish; I managed to squeeze in 10 (and this was using small tortillas!), so there is absolutely no way anyone could get 32 into a 9×13 dish. Other than these issues with the recipe, my enchiladas came out great. I used rotisserie chicken, Goya canned green salsa, and Caicique queso fresco (the only kind my local store had).
Ohhhh I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!!!
These look so good that I’m planning on making them later today! One question though, what temperature do you bake them at? 350°F?
Salsa verde is my favorite! My wife prefers red so whenever we make enchiladas we have make half red and half green haha I know she’d love to give this recipe a try too
Oooo great idea to do half and half!