We were looking forward to making these enchiladas because Mexican cuisine is a fave, and a good green sauce can’t be beat. From Milk Street, we noticed right quick that we’d make some changes. Starting with a small rotisserie chicken, we picked off and chopped a little over two cups worth of meat, using the entire amount instead of just the 1 1/2 cups originally called for. In the same vein, we increased the whole-milk mozzarella cheese from 6 ounces to 8. Altogether it was the perfect amount of filling for eight tortillas.
In Step 2, the directions indicate to cook the veggies until well-browned and beginning to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. With all of that liquid in the pan, the veggies certainly softened, but did not brown, so we went ahead anyway. As an added pop of color, we topped the enchiladas with shredded Mexican cheese and placed the uncovered baking dish back into the hot oven for a final five minutes. All of our changes are included in the recipe below.
To make the filling for these enchiladas, use leftover roasted or grilled chicken or meat from a store-bought rotisserie bird (our choice this time around). You also can poach your own chicken. To do so, place 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, cover with water or chicken broth, bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook until the thickest part of the meat registers 160°F, about 20 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the liquid until just warm to the touch, then finely chop the meat.
Of course poaching your own chicken will add time to the process. Speaking of which, Milk Street noted the entire start to finish was supposed to be 45 minutes. No way, José. It took us at least twice that amount of time! There is a lot of prep work which took a good thirty minutes in itself. Oh, but they were so worth it!
Tortilla Tip: Don’t skip the step of brushing the tortillas with oil and briefly warming them in the oven. If the tortillas are filled and rolled straight from the package, they will crack and tear. But take care not to overheat them, which will dry them out and make them too brittle to roll.
Green Enchiladas with Chicken and Cheese (Enchiladas Verdes)
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 medium poblano chilies (about 12 oz.), stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1 lb. tomatillos, husked, cored and chopped
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
- 8 oz. whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 Tbsp. hot sauce (see note)
- 8 6-in. corn tortillas
- 4 oz. shredded Mexican cheese fr topping (optional)
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
- In a large pot over medium-high, combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, the poblanos, tomatillos, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well-browned and beginning to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the cilantro and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, cheese, hot sauce, 1½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
- Brush both sides of the tortillas with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet (its fine to overlap them slightly). Cover tightly with foil and warm in the oven just until soft and pliable, about 3 minutes.
- Uncover the tortillas; reserve the foil. Lay the tortillas out on a large cutting board or clean counter. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the tortillas (about 3 heaping tablespoons each), arranging and pressing the filling in a line along the bottom edge of each tortilla.
- Working one at a time, roll up the tortillas to enclose the filling and place seam side down in a tight row down the center of the prepared baking dish. Spoon ½ cup of the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover tightly with the reserved foil and bake until the cheese begins to melt out of the ends, about 15 minutes.
- Uncover and spread ½ cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the shredded Mexican cheese. Return to the oven for 5 minutes uncovered.
- Serve with lime wedges and the remaining sauce.
Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street