Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe for enchiladas is the perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. There are few ingredients, yet the taste is really flavorful. Without fail, every time I make this dish, I get asked for the recipe. It’s also the dish I made for a dinner party almost four years ago which Chuk attended. He asked me out for the first time after that night, and we all know how that ended.

Love Potion Enchiladas*

2 containers of shredded chicken
1 very large chopped onion
3-4 ten ounce cans of La Victoria green chile enchilada sauce
Small can chopped olives
16 corn tortillas (Don’t use flour tortillas!)
Lots of shredded cheese
2.2 oz. can sliced olives (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together chicken, onion, chopped olives and a can of enchilada sauce. It should be sticky and wet.

Pour some enchilada sauce into the bottom of your pans to prevent sticking. You want a thin, even coat across the bottom. It will probably take almost a whole can to coat the bottom of your pans.

You’ll probably need at least two pans to hold all your enchiladas. They’ll all fit in a 9x13 and an 8x8. Sometimes, if I roll very tightly, I can get them to fit in two 8x8s, but usually I need two 8x8s and a casserole dish. The advantage of using a greater number of smaller pans is that you can reheat leftovers in the microwave. I can fit an 8x8 in my microwave but cannot fit a 9x13 in there. If you use a larger pan size you are stuck either reheating in the oven (which takes longer) or plating the enchiladas and reheating individual plates in the microwave, which is also more time-consuming.

Next heat up your tortillas. You can heat them in the microwave, over a gas burner, in the oven or toaster oven. The goal is to get them warm enough to be pliable, but not so warm that they burn your hand.

Hold a tortilla in the palm of your hand. Spread the chicken mixture in a line down the center of the tortilla. Roll it up; don’t worry about folding in the sides. Place seam side down in your baking dish.

Once all your enchiladas have been rolled, coat them generously with enchilada sauce. Don’t leave any of the tortilla uncovered or else it will become hard. Coating all of them will take 1-2 cans. Sprinkle liberally with cheese. Finally, top with sliced olives, if desired.

Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and toasty, about 15 minutes. If you’re in a rush, pop them under the broiler. If you do use the broiler, you need to warm up your filling before rolling your enchiladas or else the middle might not get hot enough.

Serve with a side of Spanish rice, beans, corn, salad, or avocados.

*You could easily halve this recipe. To do so, use a medium onion and two cans of enchilada sauce; use the whole can of chopped olives, but don’t top with sliced olives. If you want to garnish it, use green onion instead.


  1. This looks really good. I make enchiladas every other week; they are a tried and true favorite at my house. I only make them with cheese and onion though, so I will have to try them with chicken. And my husband really likes olives, so I think I'll try this out the next time I make them!

  2. I like cheese and onion enchiladas too, but I like chicken better.

    I'm olive obsessed too, as you can probably tell, but this recipe doesn't really taste all that olive-y. The olives work in this recipe in lieu of salt.


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