Chicken Enchiladas

October 11, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest | 46 Comments

005Today we’re cooking indoors, using our indoor voices, because it’s 19 DEGREES  in Denver. I didn’t know traditional fall colors of gold, rust, and yellow would also include white. Yes, a dusting of snow covers my beautiful summer, now dead, flowers.  They’ve even cancelled the Rockies Playoff Game tonight because of inclement weather.  We’ve gone from Summer, one week of Fall and smack dab into Winter.  I doubt Alaska has even dipped below 20 degrees yet this year.  Puff the Magic Weber didn’t even have time to frolic in the Autumn mist, he’s all icy.

Before we get started, I’d like to climb on my soapbox and talk a little about Mexican Food. I love Mexican food. I’m NOT a fan of TexMex. You know those places that bring you a huge plate of steaming greasy glop that’s covered in two cups of a greasy melted yellow cheese product covering up  greasy fried ground beef that’s wrapped in a greasy fried white flour tortilla served with a side of odd looking bland tasting creamed beans also served with melted cheese…Messy and gross.  There, I’ve said it and I’m glad I did.

Food historians tell us TexMex cuisine first occurred in the 1940s.  TexMex restaurants  surfaced in Southwestern cities with large Mexican populations and is an adaption of Mexican dishes by Texas cooks. The TexMex “fad” began in the 1970s.  It is native to the U.S., born on our soil, and chimichangas, fajitas and nachos were invented to please the American palate.

I am however, a fan of Rick Bayless, who has spent many years living in Mexico and brings to us his fresh, delicious creations inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine.  The following recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in one of his cookbooks.

So, pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s get started, I’m making Chicken Enchiladas with tomato cream sauce:


First, let’s make the tomato cream sauce.  Place about 15 medium sized tomatoes and 2 jalapeno peppers on a baking sheet.  Broil in oven about 5 inches from heat for five minutes.  I threw in one little Anaheim pepper. You can also use canned tomatoes, which skips this step altogether, but you’d still need to roast the jalapeno.  I would suggest when in season, use fresh tomatoes and this method.  


 When you start to see charred spots, turn the tomatoes and peppers over and broil another 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Working over the same baking sheet, remove skins and cores from the tomatoes and remove skins from the peppers.  I’m a fraidy cat so I also removed veins and seeds from the jalapeno.  Leave them if you like the heat.


 Place tomatoes and peppers along with the juices from the baking sheet into a food processor and puree. 


In a Dutch oven saute one chopped onion in olive oil until tender, about 7 minutes.  Lard or bacon fat is better here.


Turn up heat to medium high and add pureed tomato/chili mixture to onion. 


 Add chicken broth.  Partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  When done, texture should be soupy.  If too thick add a little more broth.  Add 1/2 C. cream, set aside and keep warm.


Meanwhile, coat three boneless, skinless chicken breast halves in olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool and shred the meat.  Set aside.

Grate two cups of Monterey Jack cheese.  I prefer Mexican melting cheese, but Safeway doesn’t offer the brand I like and I didn’t want to make a special trip up to Whole Foods.  So, Monterey Jack it is!


On a baking sheet, place 12 corn tortillas.  Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with a towel to keep warm.  


Spoon 1/2 of the tomato cream sauce into a baking pan.  Working fast, so tortillas don’t cool, place shredded chicken inside a warm tortilla and roll. 


Start placing enchiladas seam side down into the sauce.



Spoon the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. 


Sprinkle with Monterey Jack Cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese just starts to brown.


To serve, place Enchiladas on a plate, garnish with onion rings and cilantro. 

I served this with black beans which had been simmered with jalapeno pepper slices and topped with a dollop of sour cream.


The salad:  greens, tangerines, avocado slices, diced fresh tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, topped with a creamy cheese vinaigrette.


  • 3/4 C. olive oil
  • 1/4 C. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 T. Mayonnaise
  • 3 T. grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors and add salt and pepper.  Pour in a jar with a secure lid and refrigerate until ready to use.  Shake well before pouring onto salad.

Chicken Enchiladas

  • About 20 small – medium fresh tomatoes
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 T. Olive oil or pork lard or bacon drippings
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 C. chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 C. shredded Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua  quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack
  • 12 corn tortillas

A few sliced rounds of white onion, separated into rings and cilantro for garnish

note:  If using canned tomatoes, roast the peppers and skin and place canned drained tomatoes directly into the food processor and puree.


We paired this with a Borsao Ciranza.  It has a cherry red color with touches of garnet and an elegant, deep ruby background. In the nose, we perceive its great intensity where fruity and varietal tones are combined perfectly with vanilla and smooth oak tannins. Intense in the mouth, fleshy and well-structured with an ample and pleasing aftertaste.  (I didn’t write that, that comes directly from the web site – but yes “what they say”).



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  1. I love enchiladas! Those look wicked good, love that sauce. The store I go to doesn’t carry any decent Mexican cheeses, I always use Jack. Pepper Jack is good for it, too.

    • I agree, if used in moderation, Monterey Jack is just fine. Love Pepper Jack. That would have been great for this dish. Thanks for the visit to my blog. Look forward to getting to know you and your blog better.

      Thanks Bob

      Lea Ann

  2. I am so jealous of the cold weather that you are experiencing. I am still waiting for a break in this heat.
    I love Rick Bayless, great authentic Mexican food. Your recipe looks fabulous. A good bottle of wine to enjoy with these enchiladas, just brings it to a new level. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  3. Oooooooh! Just…ooooooooooooh! Those enchiladas are amazing!

    (I am too lazy to log out of WordPress and in to Blogger to have the link to ReTorte up here, but there’s only one WC out there…:))

  4. oh dear. I like messy and greasy and gross foods. Esp if it involves cheese 😉
    thus I heartily approve of these amazingly messy and cheesy chicken enchiladaS! 😀

    • Ha Ha! Everybody seems to like it, that’s why there’s a TexMex joint on every corner. (at least here in Denver there is)

  5. What a fabulous recipe! I’ll have to try it one of these days.

  6. These are some gorgeous enchiladas–they look so fresh and delicious!

  7. We don’t get much Mexican food here so I’m just drooling at your photos! 😀 You must have had some very lucky dinner guests! 🙂

    • Get yourself a Rick Bayless Cookbook. He’s got fabulous recipes.

      Thanks for stopping by

  8. 19 degrees!!?????/ woah baby, that’s freeeeezin! It was 95F yesterday in FL almost about died it was so damn hot.

    • Yikes 95 degrees with your humidity doesn’t sound like much fun. You really do have a steamy kitchen!

      Thanks for stopping by my blog

  9. Mexico is a pretty large country, with different cuisines- some not spicy at all.. That looked delicious!

    • Yes, when I was reading about the origin of TexMex, that style of cooking originated from Northern Mexico “peasant food”


      Thanks BD

  10. Those enchiladas look so good!

    • Thanks Kevin. One of those “can’t stop eating” recipes. The cilantro and onions are very important as garnish.

  11. Wow those look good! I like the idea of adding a little cream to the sauce. After reading one of Rick’s books I got a cast iron griddle so I can brown the veggies on the grill. we’ve got a dozen or so tomatoes sitting on the counter right now, so I’ll have to give this recipe a try soon.

    • I’m a huge Bayless fan. I’ll have to get cast iron griddle. Sounds like a “must have”.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog

  12. those enchiladas look fantastic! The sauce sounds unbelievable. Can’t wait to try them

    • Thanks Steph. And as always, thanks for stopping by.

  13. Looks totally delicious! This is my favourite way to make sauce too, except I am too lazy to peel skins off of anything! 😉
    For some reason we don’t seem to get corn tortillas up here.
    ps. if you need to warm up – come to Canada! It only got down to 0 last night. (I think that’s 32 American.)

    • NO CORN tortillas???? I’ve never made my own, but I suppose it could be done. You might want to think about it. Just for a challenge. 🙂

  14. i had the exact same opinion of Tex-Mex (and in fact plain ild Mex), til my neighbor moved in about a year ago. Amazing flavors. Nothing like the glop you described (and I had).

    These look and sound amazing. GREAT recipe and very excellent instructions

    • I think I’m going to move to your street, you folks are so “culinary”.

      Thanks YOG – always glad you stop by.

      Lea Ann

  15. Wow. Now the tomato cream sauce I just made yesterday sounds soooooo lame.

    The enchiladas look mouth watering.

    • Yeah right, I’m sure your tomato cream sauce was lame! You cook up some good stuff!!!

      Thanks for stopping by

  16. This looks fabulous! My family will definitely love this. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks!!! However, doesn’t even come anywhere near as outstanding as the things you create! Thanks for stopping by.

  17. Ah snow! I hate it… and I am sorry for you because you already had some :(.

    I love your enchiladas. What a great way to cook mexican!

    • Actually I love our big snow storms. It just seems too early for it to be this cold. Thanks for stopping by.

  18. I have a confession to make. It’s a little embarassing, but we are all friends here, right?
    I don’t like corn tortillas. I’m serious. But wait, it gets worse. You know the corn flour used in a ton of Mexican cooking from corn tortillas to tamales? Don’t care for it. It’s actually quite depressing. But I have made enchiladas with flour tortillas, and they are “ok”.
    Maybe your recipe will save me. Maybe, just maybe, I can change “sniff”.

    It really, really does sound yummy, btw 😀

    • Well, this is a first. I’ve never heard of anyone who didn’t like corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are good – they just have that “white thing” going on. I try to use corn more. The sauce is pretty mild and creamy, I doubt it would mask that hideous “corn” flavor. WAIT A MINUTE!!! And this comes from someone who claims their favorite ingredient is sweet corn???? Something doesn’t jive here. 🙂

      • I know! I just don’t get it! I think there may be somehting worng with me. I love polenta, I love grits. I even love corn tortilla chips. But Mexican corn flour products, not so much. And I’m sooooo not a picky eater. Maybe I just need some therapy… or a road trip to Mexico! 😀

  19. I can’t believe it’s really that cold already! I am SO not looking forward to winter.

    I am with you on the Tex-Mex front. The thought of it makes my stomach churn. I don’t think I could eat it anymore, actually, without feeling physically ill.

    Rick Bayless’s food, on the other hand, is so fresh and delicious. Mexican at it’s best. I love this chicken enchilada recipe. The tomato cream sauce is the perfect addition.

    • Yea Joanne! Thanks for the reply. It even bothers me when people refer to those places by saying “Let’s go for Mexican”.

  20. That was one pretty salad and yummy lookin enchiladas. Rick Bayliss is one of my food heroes. I have all his booka and someday will go to his restaurants.

    You are going to have the winter to dream abou barbequing. I am pretty spoiled. My barbeque can be used all year long. The climate in the East Bay is moderate with no extreme weathor. The patio is covered if it rains.

    • I have four of his cookbooks. I need to inventory and place remaining ones that I don’t have on my Christmas List. I’ve not been to Chicago, but will make a trip someday for his restaurants.

      My patio isn’t covered, but I do grill nearly year round. There’s just those icy days that I say “phooey on that”.

      The salad was fantastic. I love fruits and greens with a great dressing.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Hey there!

    All this time and I never knew you had a blog…. it’s terrific! I will most definitely add you to my blogroll….

    Linda from Cooking Tip of the Day

    PS… don’t forget to emil me your contact name and address so I can have Country Bob send you your prize!

  22. Looks delicious! Tex-Mex food gives me a gut ache, too. I’m sure you can really taste the fresh ingredients in these enchiladas. I’m fan of Rick Bayless as well, especially after eating at Topolobampo in Chicago. I really need to get his cookbooks 🙂

    • I only wish I could eat at his restaurants. Yes, his cookbooks are a must.

      Thanks for stopping by. Lea Ann

  23. Oh man you did these Enchiladas right!

    • Thanks! And Thanks for stopping by

  24. I LOVE this recipe – I can’t wait to give it try! When I make them I’m going to have to fight the urge to blog about it, though. 😛

    • You should give it a try, it’s delicious. And then please blog away. It’s a recipe that gives you good material.

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