Chicken Enchiladas Suizas
Creamy chicken enchiladas in a homemade tomatillo poblano sauce and baked with Mexican cheeses until bubbly.
I pretty much order enchiladas every time I see them on the menu. We were visiting Salt Lake City, Utah and they were known for this unique Mexican restaurant, called Red Iguana, and it was a dive. But I have always been taught to not judge a book by its cover so we proceeded and I am sure glad we did. They are known for their sauces and they didn't disappoint.
I was a Senior in high school and I ordered enchiladas suizas with chicken. It has a creamy green sauce that was tangy and smooth and I knew I had to replicate it. I have been to Red Iguana more times than I can count and I wanted to put my own spin on their enchiladas suizas.
So what are enchiladas suizas? Basically, they are enchiladas with some type of cream. This verde sauce is made with roasted poblano peppers, jalapenos, onion, tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, a touch of honey, and spices. When you are layering those types of flavors, how can you go wrong? You blend it all up until it is pureed and smooth and then add in the sour cream. The sour cream cuts the heat and adds some richness.
If you love spice, you can always add in an extra jalapeno. My family loves things on the spicier side so I always add in an extra since the sour cream does mellow out the flavors. You will want to drink this sauce!
I am a big fan of roasting vegetables because the oven heat caramelizes the natural sugars in the peppers and onions, which brings out the depth of flavor. I just cut the peppers in half, quarter the onion, and throw everything on a baking sheet. Sprinkle on some salt (and maybe even a little oil) and you are good to go. It only takes about 15-20 minutes in a really hot oven to roast them. If you want a more pronounced roasted flavor, leave in for 25-30 minutes.
Another key to making enchiladas is to soften the corn tortillas. If you don't take the time to soften the tortillas, they may crack or dry out. My favorite method is to put a small amount of oil in a skillet. Heat it over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the oil for about 10-15 seconds or until it is softened. Remove with tongs and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. This will keep the corn tortillas moist and will help to create a barrier from the sauce so they don't turn to mush!
Bring on the cheese! If I go to a Mexican food restaurant and they barely sprinkle on the cheese, I am one disappointed enchilada lover. So don't be afraid to layer on the cheese. You can use a Mexican cheese blend, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack Cheese. I will put cheese inside the corn tortilla with the chicken mixture and then put a ridiculous amount on the top.
For the chicken, you can use any type of shredded chicken. The easiest way is to pick up a rotisserie chicken but you can also quickly poach chicken. If you have extra time, you can throw some chicken breasts into the slow cooker as well.
One key tip is to make sure and season the chicken as you cook it. You don't want bland chicken! I am such a believer in layers of flavor so every component needs to be seasoned well. If you are poaching the chicken, sprinkle salt into the water so it penetrates the chicken breasts as they cook. If you want some extra flavor, throw in some onions and garlic too.
How to make Chicken Enchiladas Suizas:
- Start by shredding the chicken. I prefer to use a rotisserie chicken but you can use any type of shredded chicken. You can poach the chicken in water or slow cook it in a crockpot. Just make sure to season the chicken!
- Make the creamy verde sauce. Roast the onions and peppers until softened and slightly charred, about 20 minutes. If you want the vegetables to have a more pronounced roasted flavor, allow them to cook for 25-30 minutes. Place everything into a blender.
- Add the fresh ingredients. Add a bunch of cilantro, fresh lime juice, and seasonings. Blend until smooth. Add in sour cream. Taste to see if it has the right amount of spice. If you want it spicier, add another ½ to full jalapeno.
- Place a small amount of canola or vegetable oil in a skillet. Heat it over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the oil for about 10-15 seconds or until it is softened. Remove with tongs and place on a paper-towel-lined plate. This will keep the corn tortillas moist and will help to create a barrier from the sauce so they don't turn to mush!
- Add some creamy verde sauce to the chicken mixture and toss to coat. This infuses flavor into the chicken. Place the chicken mixture into the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up and place the seam side down. Cover with remaining sauce and Mexican cheese. Cover and let bake. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time.