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This Month's Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

Serves: 4 to 6

Recipe Author: 
Katie Workman



A Note from Katie Workman:

This is a dish that makes people happy. Feel free to buy a large store-roasted chicken and use the meat from that. Dark meat or white meat, all fine. And since in this dish the chicken is tucked away inside a tortilla you may not hear as many observations about it from your white meat-loving peanut gallery. Or you can use meat from any leftover semi-plainly cooked chicken (poached, roasted, fried) that you have in the fridge. And if you want to knock two meals out with one thought, roast a double batch of chicken for dinner and reserve half of the pieces for these enchiladas. In short, any chicken will do, unless it is heavily seasoned with non-Mexican flavors, so don’t go peering into leftover Chinese food containers; that won’t work.

Enchilada ingredients:

  • About 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil, plus oil for the baking dish (optional)

  • Nonstick cooking spray (optional)

  • 14 small (6-inch) corn tortillas

  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 can (28 ounces) enchilada sauce, or Quick Homemade Enchilada Sauce (recipe follows

  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend

  • Chopped fresh cilantro

  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions

  • Thinly sliced avocado

  • Sour cream

  • Salsa


  • Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the oil, and swirl it around. Add a tortilla and cook until it is just beginning to become very pliable, literally 2 to 3 seconds. Using tongs, a fork, or a spatula, flip the tortilla and cook it until it is floppy but not mushy, 2 to 3 seconds longer. Quickly transfer the tortilla to the paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, stacking them up as they are cooked and adding more oil in tiny amounts as needed.
  • Add another teaspoon of oil to the skillet and heat it over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the enchilada sauce and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the sauce come to a simmer. Turn off the heat. Place the shredded chicken and half of the sauce in a medium-size bowl and stir to mix. Set the remaining sauce aside.

  • Place a tortilla on a work surface, spoon a generous ¼ cup of the chicken filling along one edge, and gently roll up the tortilla, making sure the filling doesn’t pop out the ends (don’t worry about a tiny tear here or there). Carefully place the enchilada seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling, lining up the rolls tightly and neatly against each other.

  • Pour the reserved sauce evenly over the enchiladas, making sure they are all covered, and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Bake until everything is hot and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

  • Serve the enchiladas with cilantro, scallions, avocado, sour cream, and/or salsa, if desired (the sour cream is usually highly desired).

Quick Homemade Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato paste (½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher or coarse salt


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the flour, and whisk until well incorporated and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin, followed by the chicken broth, tomato paste, and oregano. Season the sauce with salt to taste. Increase the heat to medium-high, let the sauce come to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened and smooth, about 10 minutes.