Tuesday, February 21, 2012

At Home: Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

This next installment of What Micky Eats...At Home features the first "homemade" dish I ever learned to make: Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas.  It was sophomore year of college and my roommate and best friend, Lucinda, did much of the cooking in our humble Los Angeles apartment.  I have committed this recipe to memory and bust it out only for "special occasions", as it looks much fancier and harder to accomplish than it really is, but does take time to prepare.  It remains one of my dad's and Keith's favorite meals that I make.

Lucinda is a "mutt" like me, except with Mexican and Italian heritage.  She grew up about 30 - 40 minutes south of where we went to college, and often went home to visit her family on the weekends.  On Sunday nights, I would wait eagerly like a puppy for her return because I knew she would have goodies from her mom, Sylvia.  This enchilada recipe is originally Sylvia's with little modifications made here and there over the years (initially, we made it sans chicken as I did not eat any meat - not even poultry - until I was in my mid-20s).  The preparation is more lasagna-style, with layers of tortilla and filling.  I once attempted to make it a different way by filling each tortilla individually and rolling them like you see in most restaurants, but that was an epic fail.  There is just something about the ooey-gooey layers of cheese that make these enchiladas work.  Thus, I highly recommend you stick to this method.  (makes 6 servings)

Sylvia's Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 28 oz green enchilada sauce (or 2 jars of salsa verde)
  • 3 chicken breasts, shredded
  • ½ white onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or pepper jack mix preferred
  • sour cream (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)

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- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring water to a boil and place in the chicken to cook through.
- In a large frying pan, heat up vegetable oil to lightly fry each corn tortilla on each side.  They will start to curl or bubble up when ready.
- Place tortillas on a plate covered with paper towels to soak up excess oil as each piece rests.
- By now, the chicken should be cooked.  Once cool enough to handle, shred into pieces using a fork or finely chop with a knife.
- Using a glass baking dish, pour some sauce on the bottom and put first layer of tortillas down.
- Top with cheese, onions, shredded chicken, and cilantro (optional). Cover with a little more sauce.
- Top with another layer of tortillas. Continue building layers with cheese, onions, chicken, and sauce.
- End the very top layer with tortillas, covered by the remaining sauce.  Add any remaining cheese on top if desired.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Serve in square pieces, topped with sour cream.

It is highly imperative that you use the green enchilada sauce for this recipe - not the red sauce.  The green is milder and tangier and just pairs really well with the bite of the raw onions and chicken.  It usually comes in a can and may be hard to find in the regular grocery stores (especially on the East Coast), therefore salsa verde aka green tomatillo salsa, which comes in a jar, may also be used.  Additionally, I have tried to skip the frying of the tortillas once in order to save time - another fail.  The frying helps the tortillas to retain moisture through the baking process and makes them a little more pliable, so they don't break apart.  Strange, I know. But trust me, it works.  Topped with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh cilantro, I like to round out this meal with a side of refried beans and Spanish rice.  Serve with a margarita and you have a classic Mexican meal....At Home.


  1. Looks great!!! Good Job. Maybe I'll make that sometime this week. Reading about it has me craving it!!!!

    1. It looks extra gooey in the pics, always better the second day! Keith gobbled up most of it already.

    2. I'm glad it's a hit! I think I'm making it for dinner tonight!!

    3. Cool! Let me know of any improvements or tips to add :)


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