Whip Smart Kitchen

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Chicken tomatillo enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo

Mexican, recipeLeannda CavalierComment

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

We had our fiesta a little early last night with some chicken tomatillo enchiladas, yellow rice, refried black beans & Alton Brown’s recipe for guacamole.

It seems like enchiladas would be a pain to make because of all the components, but the beauty of this recipe is that the chicken and sauce are a breeze. You can use them to make tacos or even eat the sauce right over chicken and rice. Get creative!

Without further ado…

Chicken Tomatillo Enchiladas

  • 8 medium-sized tortillas (8-10 inches, to fit in a 9x14 baking dish)
  • 1 batch tomatillo sauce (see above)
  • 1 batch shredded chicken (see above)
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 8 oz queso fresco, crumbled

Suggested toppings include:

  • Creme fraiche
  • Seeded jalapeños
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced onions
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan.
3. Prepare a plate by covering it with a paper towel. Dredge one side of a tortilla through the hot oil using silicone tongs. Place on plate oil side down and cover with a paper towel. Repeat, stacking the tortillas on top of each other, separated by paper towels.
4. Carefully pour out any remaining oil (not in the sink!) and return pan to stove. Turn the heat to medium. 
5. Spread ½ cup tomatillo sauce in the frying pan and allow to warm. 
6. Spread about 1 cup of the tomatillo sauce into the bottom of your 9x14 baking dish, or as much as it takes to cover the bottom. 
7. Dredge the opposite (non-oil) side of a tortilla through the heated tomatillo sauce using your tongs. Place it oil-side-down on the plate and spoon about ⅓-½ cup shredded chicken near the edge of the tortilla.
8. Roll the chicken up in the tortilla and place it in the baking dish with the seam facing down. Repeat with all tortillas. If you run out of room, just bake remaining enchiladas separately.
9. Pour desired amount of remaining tomatillo sauce (I suggest at least 3 cups) over tortillas, spreading as you go. 
10. Bake 10-15 minutes.
11. Top with any remaining chicken, queso fresco and any other desired toppings. I happen to like creme fraiche, seeded and thinly sliced jalapeños and sliced onions.

Serve immediately with your favorite yellow rice and refried beans recipe and Alton Brown’s guacamole.


Tomatillo Sauce

  • 10 large tomatillos, husks removed
  • 6 green chiles or jalapeños, seeded
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles with juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large pot, cover tomatillos, fresh chiles, and garlic with water and add salt. 
2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. 
3. Remove from heat and use a colander to drain. 
4. Put your cooked ingredients back into the original pot and add canned chiles, oil, cilantro, honey and cream.
5. Using an immersion blender, blend your mixture until smooth. If you don’t have one, carefully use a regular blender, working in small batches. Add water ⅛ cup at a time if you’re having trouble blending or want to thin it out.
6. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Keep warm until ready for use, or refrigerate if making ahead.


Shredded Chicken

  • 2-3 lbs bone-in chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks (boneless skinless is fine, but packs less flavor)
  • ½ vidalia onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 4 oz can diced chiles, drained
  • 1 roma tomato, diced & seeded
  • Juice of ½ lime

1. Put chicken, onion, garlic, salt, cumin and thyme in a large pot and cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and drain the stock, saving it for another application if you wish. Let chicken cool 5-10 minutes.
4. Remove skin and any gristle from chicken and discard along with onion and garlic. 
5. Remove chicken from bones using your fingers, making sure to get rid of all small bones. Shred the chicken with your hands or two forks. 
6. Melt butter over medium heat in the pot used to boil the chicken. Add chiles and tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes begin to break down.
7. Add chicken, squeeze lime over it, and toss to combine. 
8. Remove from heat and set aside until ready for use.