I am so excited to be bringing you another recipe after what feels like forever! The last month or so has been so incredibly chaotic as I get that much closer to wrapping up the prerequisites necessary to apply for my Master’s program. As much as I have been itching to create content for the blog, first and foremost I am attempting to finish up my schooling so that sooner rather than later, I will be an accredited RDN able to help you all in much greater detail with all your health and wellness needs. Also, let me say that because I take so much pride in the content that I put out, I will only ever share a recipe with you that I 1000% standby. I refuse to share a mediocre recipe just for the sake of posting because this blog was started with the purpose of showing you how fulfilling, satisfying, and delicious a healthy lifestyle can be.
With that being said, today I have a very exciting recipe for you as I have been attempting to perfect this one for quite some time. Today I will be sharing with you my authentic chicken enchiladas made of course with homemade enchilada sauce. A few weeks back as I was craving my mom’s homemade enchiladas I gave her a call to ask her for the recipe. As she listed the ingredients, I was surprised that she used flour and lard. For those of you who do not know what lard is, it is solidified pork fat that is high in saturated fat, If you want to know more about the different types of fat, check out my Facts on Fat post here. After going over the ingredients, I knew exactly why her sauce was so addictive. Lard is very calorie dense which sends signals to our brain that makes us want to eat more. So I decided I would play with the recipe a bit to make something with some healthier ingredients. Mom, if you’re reading this please know I love your enchiladas, but we are definitely going to be swapping my enchilada sauce out for yours!
Now, before we get into the exact things you’ll need for this recipe let’s talk about what makes this recipe healthier than most. As we mentioned up above, I completely omitted the lard and flour in this recipe and instead of using canola oil to “fry” the enchilada sauce I used olive oil. In addition, I decided to use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas to a) make this recipe gluten-free friendly, and b) to lower the carb count so it is more suitable for those who are pre-diabetic or full onset diabetic. One extra modification I made was to reduce the amount of cheese used because we all know cheese is not one of the healthiest foods when eaten in excess. However, you cannot have enchiladas without cheese so instead of using the usual 3 cups worth, I cut that portion in half. Overall, this recipe is healthier than most enchilada recipes just by making a few simple swaps and reducing the amount of high in saturated fat ingredients.
Although the process of making the enchilada sauce can seem tedious, it is so incredibly worth it for the flavor. While reading through the directions to make the sauce you may be tempted to sub in store-bought enchilada sauce and before you do that let me politely say don’t you dare. This recipe is completely dependent on the enchilada sauce because that is what makes this recipe authentic. Ask any Mexican home cook if they use store-bought enchilada sauce and I assure you they will very quickly say no. I’ve come to find that if you want authentic and delicious Mexican food, you have to make it yourself. However, for easy access, I suggest making the enchilada sauce in advance and keeping it in your fridge for up to a week. Now that I’ve rambled on long enough, let’s get into the ingredients of what you’ll need to make my authentic chicken enchiladas!
◊ Makes about 18 oz. (2 1/4 cups)
- 8 dried California chiles
- 5 dried guajillo or pasilla chiles
- 1/2 medium onion
- 4 small cloves garlic or 2 large
- 2 1/2 cups reserved chile water**
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
**NOTE: See directions for enchilada sauce for more details
◊ Makes 9 enchiladas
- 9 corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded chicken (I bought a rotisserie chicken to cut the time in half)
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup ( set aside 1/2 cup for filling)
- 18 oz. enchilada sauce
- Non-stick baking dish
Making the enchilada sauce:
- Begin by cutting the stems of the dried chiles to remove the seeds.
- Next, heat a skillet over medium heat and when hot, add dried chiles for a total of 4 minutes (2 minutes per side)
- Remove chiles from heat and place in a bowl.
- Using either a microwave or saucepan, heat water to a boil and add to the bowl containing the chiles.
- Allow the water to cover the chiles for 10-15 minutes ( the longer the better) and then strain the rehydrated chiles and liquid into a separate clean bowl to remove any seeds left behind. DO NOT throw out the water that was used to rehydrate the chile this will be used to make the sauce!
- To the blender add in 1 1/2 cups of the liquid, chiles, onion, garlic, and salt.
- Blend on the highest setting until completely smooth. If the sauce appears too thick, add an additional 1/2 cup of reserved chile liquid and continue to add water until desired texture.
- When finished blending, pour the sauce through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any chunks or blended seeds.
- Heat a skillet over low-medium heat, add in olive oil, and pour the strained enchilada sauce.
- Stir and allow the enchilada sauce to simmer for 5 minutes then set aside.
Assembling the enchiladas:
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Heat the corn tortillas on a skillet or comal to warm them up.
- Dip one tortilla at a time in the now cooled enchilada sauce, then place a small pinch of shredded chicken and cheese into the center of the tortilla
- Carefully roll up the tortilla and place seam side down in a non-stick baking dish.
- Continue this process with each tortilla until they fill up the pan. (I used an 8″ x 13″ pan which fit a total of 9 enchiladas perfectly.)
- Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining Monterey jack cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes
- Allow to cool, top with toppings and enjoy!
If there’s one recipe to try from my blog, it’s this one right here, These enchiladas are ridiculously delicious and surprisingly more nutritious than traditional enchiladas. Serve it alongside my Mexican Quinoa and Oil-free “Refried” Beans and you’ve got yourself a healthy Mexican feast. Mexican food can either be a hit or a miss and I sincerely promise you that these enchiladas will not disappoint. I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you attempt this recipe let me know how it turns out for you!