I've always had a soft spot in my heart (and my belly) for tasty Mexican food and out of all the delicious options out there, enchiladas were always my favorite! The Mexican staple is typically made with warm corn tortillas and is filled with everything from chicken, beef, cheese, beans, potatoes…you name it! Then they get topped with a mouthwatering sauce and of course, a little more cheese! To me, the perfect enchilada bite would have some crunchy, shredded lettuce, spicy jalapeños and sour cream. Talk about good!
Some of my ultimate favorite enchiladas come from Juan's Flying Burrito in Uptown New Orleans! The Flying Enchiladas are loaded with steak, shrimp and chicken, awesome sauces, jalapeños and a red chili sour cream. Paired with rice, black beans and some of Juan's chips & salsa, this combo is my happy place. But, since Juan's is a couple hours away, we're going to make our own enchiladas, today.
Image Source - The Flying Enchiladas from Juan's Flying Burrito!
These cheesy, Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas have a smoky, subtly spicy punch from chipotle peppers and fire roasted tomatoes. You can usually find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in a small can around the taco supplies in most grocery stores. The canned chipotle’s are a great way to add a really deep, complex flavor to any dish. The whole can is more than you’ll need, so you can use the rest to whip up our Tangy Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette dressing. The dressing is tangy and subtly smoky sweet and tastes great over greens and proteins. Seriously good!
To start the enchilada sauce, add the can of fire roasted tomatoes with all of those good juices, two chipotle peppers, two garlic cloves, about 1/8 of a medium white onion, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper and 1/4 teaspoon each of smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano and 1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth to a food processor. These ingredients will get pureed, then warmed in a pan on the stove, so that all of the flavors really come together. After a around 10 minutes on low heat, occasionally stirring, the sauce can be transferred to a bowl and set aside. *If you're looking to save time, you can usually find store bought enchilada sauce, but to me, it's worth the few extra minutes to blend up this flavorful mix!
**If you leave this sauce a little chunkier, it makes an AWESOME fire roasted salsa. With some tortilla chips and a squeeze-o-lime...oh my goodness.
For the filling, we used chicken, but enchiladas wear a lot of different hats, so if you aren't big on the bird, you can fill yours with beef, beans, or even just cheese. This recipe uses a pack (just over a pound or 8 pieces) of chicken tenderloins. Brown the tenderloins in a pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, until thoroughly cooked. You won't need to season the chicken much because it's going to get mixed in with some of our spicy enchilada sauce. *If you're looking for another timesaver, you can grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead and use around 4½ cups.
After your chicken is cooked, shred with a fork into smaller, bitesized pieces. Toss with about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup of shredded, Mexican blend cheese.
Next, cover the bottom of a baking dish (ours is 12.8" x 9.5") with around 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce. Loosely wrap 12 corn tortillas with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds. This helps to make them more pliable and less likely to tear when you roll them!
Spoon a couple heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto the middle of a tortilla and tightly roll. Place the rolled tortilla, seam side down, in your baking dish and repeat until you have rolled all 12, making sure the tortillas are all nice and close to each other in the pan. Top with the rest of the sauce and the last cup of shredded cheese.
Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is nice and melty. Garnish with cilantro and serve with shredded lettuce, sour cream or any of your other favorites!
Thanks for Chewsing!