The roasted tomatillo salsa on these enchiladas is really what makes it a special dish; you get that slightly smoky taste, and there are those authentic bits of char you can see in there. You can use whichever fillings you like, or you can follow the suggestions in my recipe.
There are three main steps to this recipe: roast the vegetables for the salsa and cook them, assemble the tortillas and pour the salsa over top. Then bake for just a few minutes. The best part of course is devouring them, nicely garnished with cilantro and maybe some Cotijo cheese.
This recipe comes from Rick Bayless’s website. After visiting one of his restaurants in Chicago a few years back I started searching through his recipes and trying some out. This one was a big hit when I made it recently. (Once again, the eating experience outshines the photo.)
Some changes were made to the chicken filling. The recipe called for just shredded cheese, but I squeezed some lime juice over the chicken, then I added some cilantro, avocado, Cotijo cheese and a bit of Ancho chili powder and salt. I also meant to add some pinto beans but forgot about them, so they were served on the side. I love a nice crumbly, salty Cotijo cheese sprinkled on top of these; I buy a locally made one at Whole Foods in Vancouver.
I also made one change to the tomatillo salsa – I chopped up some of the cilantro stems and tossed them into the salsa as it was cooking.
If you have some bottled tomatillo salsa on hand it can be helpful in case you don’t have quite enough to cover the enchiladas, or if you really don’t have time to make the salsa you can substitute with bottled green salsa.
I served this with a jicama/cucumber/mango/orange salad, and some pickled red onion to put on the enchilada.
Warning: serving this meal may cause arguments over who gets the leftovers.
What you need:
- 1/2 kg tomatillos
- 4 garlic cloves with peels on
- 2 fresh Serrano chiles
- 1 small onion, sliced about 1cm thick
- 1 & 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used a bouillon cube)
- olive or vegetable oil
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro
- cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken, mainly the breasts with a bit of other meat)
- juice of one lime plus more for serving
- 1 avocado, sliced
- pinto beans (optional)
- Ancho chili powder
- Cotija cheese
- 8 corn tortillas
What you do:
- Preheat the broiler in the oven and move the rack to the highest position.
- To prepare the roasted tomatillo salsa, remove the husks from the tomatillos and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the garlic, onion and Serrano peppers on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 4 minutes. The vegetables should begin blackening. Flip them over and let the other side blacken for a few minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool somewhat.
- Turn the oven heat to 400F (200C).
- Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and take the stems off of the peppers.
- Using a blender or immersion blender, purée the vegetables and any of their juices, along with half a teaspoon or so of salt, leaving some chunks of tomatillo.
- Sprinkle some salt and Ancho chili powder over the shredded chicken, then pour the juice of a lime over it. Add the chopped cilantro and toss the chicken to evenly coat it. Prepare the sliced avocado and crumble some of the Cotijo cheese. Set the chicken ingredients aside while you finish preparing the salsa.
- Add a drizzle of oil to a pot and bring it to medium-high heat. Add the salsa ingredients to the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, and allowing it to thicken. Add the broth and about 1/4 cup of cilantro and continue to cook for about 5 minutes more until thickened a bit. Season with salt, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer while you assemble the enchiladas.
- Wrap the tortillas in a cloth and microwave for a minute.
- Stir a little bit of the salsa into the chicken mixture, then add a little bit of the salsa to the bottom of a baking dish.
- Lay out one tortilla at a time, adding some chicken, avocado, and Cotija cheese (reserving some to garnish). Roll the enchilada, the place each of them in the baking dish. Spoon the salsa over the top of the enchiladas, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges.
- Bake the enchiladas for about 4 minutes, then garnish with cilantro and Cotija cheese before serving.