Despite how much I positively adore Mexican food, I have not always been much a fan of verde salsa or sauces. Why? I feel like they can be inconsistent from restaurant to restaurant. Some places, it’s ridiculously spicy; some places, it’s really tangy. Some places it’s well-balanced and I really like it. But I haven’t met many verde sauces I’ve enjoyed.
Until, that is, I bought //Aaron Sanchez’s cookbook// and tried his verde sauce. There’s a recipe in his cookbook for chilaquiles, that is just out of this world, that uses this verde sauce. And I was sold.
This recipe is adapted from the chilaquiles recipe. I love those chilaquiles so much – I made them for a New Year’s Day party I had at the beginning of this year, and my brother wouldn’t shut up about the verde sauce. I thought hm, what if I used this sauce and method to make chicken enchiladas? And many many months later, this recipe was born!
I have modified the verde sauce recipe slightly, mostly to be less spicy. The original recipe calls for 5 fresh serrano peppers (which may not be that bad, but could be pretty damn spicy), OR 10 jalapeno chilies. I typically make this recipe with serranos, but at the point I was recipe testing this I couldn’t find them, so I subbed 10 jalapenos. And I legit cried, it was so spicy. It was not edible the first time I made this. I had such a sad dumping a full pan of too-spicy enchiladas, but they really were not edible! So, follow my recipe below for a moderately-spiced dish, and if you can’t even handle moderate heat, lose a jalapeno or two – I promise the dish won’t suffer. ?
For the verde sauce:
1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, washed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium white onion, sliced into quarters
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Handful of fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the enchiladas:
1 jar of your favorite salsa verde
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10-12 flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 tub creme fraiche
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
1. Prepare the chicken: Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker and pour the jar of salsa verde on top. Cook on high for two hours, and then switch to low for two hours. Alternatively, you could cook on low for 8 hours. When the chicken is finished, shred right in the crockpot. You can use this for taco filling, taco salad topping, quesadillas, etc. Refrigerate or keep warm until ready to assemble enchiladas, depending on how long you have to wait.
2. Prepare the verde sauce: Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic cloves, and onion quarters onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Broil under a high flame for about 7-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet as needed to ensure all vegetables start to blacken. When they are nicely blistered, but not completely burnt, remove from the oven and scrape everything off the baking sheet into a blender. Be sure to secure the lid and vent if necessary, as you will be blending hot items. Holding the lid in place, blend until well mixed and combined. You should not have any large chunks, it should be the consistency of a smooth salsa. When finished, pour into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Add heavy cream, and whisk to combine. Keep warm.
3. Assemble enchiladas: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon a little bit of the verde sauce into the bottom of a greased baking dish, about 9×13 in size, and spread it around into a thin layer. Fill each tortilla with some of the chicken mixture and some of the Monterey Jack cheese. I never measure this part, who has time? Just don’t overstuff your enchiladas so much that they won’t close when you roll them up. It’s trial and error, but you’ll figure it out, I promise. Place each rolled tortilla seam-side down on top of the sauce. When your baking dish is full or you are out of chicken, spread the creme fraiche on top of the enchiladas in an even layer. Top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese, if you have any left. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
4. Prepare enchiladas for serving: When the enchiladas have finished baking, remove from the oven. Pour the verde sauce all over the top of the enchiladas. Let set for a minute or two. Top with crumbled queso fresco, if desired. Carefully remove from the baking pan and serve alongside Spanish rice or a fresh salad!