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Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas made from scratch with dried chiles, tender poached chicken and pillowy corn tortillas. Make enchilada sauce with this chicken enchilada recipe.
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Poultry
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free


for chicken

  • 1.5 pounds chicken breasts (or tenders)
  • 2 water qts
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano Mexican
  • 1 bay leaf

for enchilada sauce

  • 5 chilies Ancho
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles
  • 1 onion large
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 15 oz tomato sauce (pureed tomatoes) cans
  • 2 C water
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano Meican
  • 1/2 cups queso fresco crumbled


  1. Wash the chicken breasts and trim any fat, skin or tendon from the meat. Heat the water, salt, cumin, oregano and bay leaf to a boil. Add the chicken and return to a boil. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let it sit for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. When it's done, strain the chicken and shred.
  2. For the enchilada sauce, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the chilies with oil, place on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant (about 7 minutes), be careful not to burn them or they will be bitter. When they're done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool off enough to touch. Tear the stems off and remove all the seeds. Boil some water. Soak the roasted chilies in boiling water until rehydrated, about 45 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, puree the onions and garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the pureed onion and garlic until reduced down to about 1/4 of the original volume and it's nice and caramelized. This will take 20-30 minutes, but it's where a lot of the flavor comes from so it's worth the wait.
  4. When the chiles are rehydrated, add them to the food processor and blitz until pureed. Add this to the caramelized onions, then add the tomato sauce, water, sugar, salt, cumin and oregano. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the enchilada sauce has thickened and the flavours have had a chance to meld. Pass the sauce through a mesh sieve to remove the chili skins and mix about a 1/3 of the strained sauce with the chicken.
  5. Heat about 1/4" of oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas. They should heat through and get soft but be careful not to get them crisp. Drain the on paper towels and pat off any excess oil.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put a couple spoonfuls of chicken into each tortilla and roll. In a 13" x 9" casserole dish, lay each enchilada down with the seam side down. Cover with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the queso fresco on top. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
  7. I serve these chicken enchiladas with black beans and extra tortillas, but they'd also be great with a salad.