Birthday Bash: Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

For my big 30th birthday celebration, I decided to get my friends together for a weekend getaway to the hill country for some extreme relaxing. The itinerary included drinking Bloody Mary’s, napping, talking, more napping, and eating. We are some wild and crazy Kids! This may seem like a lame way to celebrate the big 3-0, but once you and all of your friends have worked a full 40 hours and dealt with being an adult all week, the greatest gift anyone can give you is guilt-free napping. It was AMAZING.

Knowing that the goal of the entire weekend was to hang out with my friends and catch up on sleep, I made the executive decision to keep things as low-key as possible. I decided that we would cook at the house instead of trying to organize the logistical nightmare that is eating out with a large group of people. You may be thinking “Why, Jess, you must have spent your birthday slaving away in the kitchen,” but you, gentle reader, would be wrong.  Why? Because everything I cooked, I prepared ahead of time and warmed up as needed. These chicken enchiladas verdes were made Friday, served Saturday, and were met with applause by my guests and husband. Making these ahead of time let my friends and I sip our cocktails in peace, while knowing that we had a wonderful dinner awaiting us. Brilliant.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes, Serves 9

I found this beauty in the Tex Mex/International section of my grocery store.
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2, 28 oz. cans of Tomatillos
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Optional: 1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground Cumin
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil

For the Enchilada Assembly

  • 2 rotisserie chickens, skin removed and shredded
  • 1 package of corn tortillas (we had 34 in a package)
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • 3 cups shredded cheese for the filling and an additional 2 cups of cheese for the topping (I used the pre-shredded cheddar you get in a bag because that’s a lot of cheese to shred. I used about 1 ½ bags).


  • *Optional-Food Processor
  • Hand Blender (If you do not have a hand blender, you could use a blender or food processor. You could also just leave it and serve it as a more of chunky sauce)
  • Large pot
  • 2, 9” x 13” pans (I used aluminum throw away pans since for ease of clean up and because we were at a vacation house so I wasn’t in my own kitchen. You can also use oven proof dishes as well)
  • A dinner plate for assembling your enchiladas

For the sauce:

1) Drain your cans of tomatillos and chop chop them up using a knife or a food processor. I used a food processor to cut down on time. You could also use a hand-blender (pour them into a bowl and blitz them with the hand-blender until chopped). If you are doing this without the heavy machinery, just make sure to give the tomatillos a thorough chopping. Set aside.

A food processor is a worthwhile investment in any kitchen
A food processor is a worthwhile investment in any kitchen

2) In your large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat making sure it doesn’t start to smoke. Add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is translucent and soft.

3) add the jalapeño and crushed garlic cook for about 1 minute making sure to stir frequently so you do not burn the garlic.

4) Add the tomatillos, honey, broth, lime zest, and salt. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the mixture up to a low boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Simmering Sauce….say that 10 times fast.

5) Turn off the heat and add the lime juice and cilantro stirring to combine. Take the sauce off the hot burner and let cool for 10 minutes.

6) Once the sauce has cooled so that you do not burn your face off when blending, blend the sauce together using your hand blender. You can do this in the same pot. Once the sauce is pureed, set it aside. You can make the sauce up to two days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Or make a bunch of sauce and store it in the freezer for up to one month.

Assembling the enchiladas:

1) Wrap your tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the can be rolled without breaking.

2) Grease your pans with a tablespoon or two of oil using a paper towel. Pour a ladle or two of sauce onto the bottom of your pans until a thin, even layer of sauce covers the bottom of the ban (this keeps the bottom of your enchiladas from burning).

3) Make your assembly line: Line up your sauce, tortillas, shredded chicken, and pans for easy access.

4) Begin by dipping a tortilla in the Verde sauce until it has a thin coating of sauce on it. Place on a plate.

5) Fill the enchilada with a small handful of chicken and top with a thin layer of cheese (don’t go too crazy with the filling or you wont be able to roll your enchilada).

6) Roll you tortilla into a tube and place seam side down into the pan. Repeat these steps placing each rolled tortilla very close together (its ok to pack them in there) until both pans are full.

Golden and Delicious
Golden and Delicious!

7) Split the left over sauce between the two pans and smother the enchiladas in the Verde sauce. Top with cheese. At this point, you can either bake them for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbling or you can store them in the freezer. TO store them in the freezer, cover them saran wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. They will keep in the freezer for up to month. To bake, thaw the enchiladas overnight in the refrigerator and bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbling.

A few Cookies and Salt Note:

  • Canned tomatillos can be hard to find outside of the South West (and sometimes, are even hard to find when you live in the birthplace of Tex-Mex). If that’s the case, use a mild green salsa. You will want to taste the salsa and adjust your seasonings as needed. Typically when I do this, I wind up cutting down the salt and jalapeño.
  • I made this to feed a lot of people. If you don’t want to have 9 people over to your house so you can scratch your enchilada itch, then do not fret my friends. You can easily cut the ingredients in half or just make the whole thing of sauce and freeze it in batches for later. I’ve done both with great success.
  • You can easily make these vegetarian. You can scrap the chicken and replace it with roasted vegetables like zucchini and corn or spinach and mushrooms. Or you could just fill them with extra cheese and call it a day.
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4 Replies to “Birthday Bash: Chicken Enchiladas Verdes”

  1. It was delicious!
    Source: I ate it.

  2. Nancy Rutherford says: Reply

    Happy Birthday Jessica!

  3. First, Happy Birthday. you don’t look a day over 29 1/2!
    My question is: Why Do Corn Tortillas Hate Me? I know they are good because Weight Watchers says so. Plus, on Top Chef Texas the chefs that used flour tortillas in their enchiladas got a severe tongue lashing from Tom Colicchio!! When I try to use them they either splinter apart or get incredibly soggy!! So how do you use them and keep your dish appetizing?

  4. […] pasta. I use fresh spinach as a substitute for rice in curries and even as a sub for tortillas. For chicken enchiladas verdes, you could scrap the tortillas, mix the green sauce with the chicken, heat it up in a skillet, and […]

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