Rule #237: Big Daddy could cook.
I know that’s not really a ‘rule’ per say, but hey, I’m in charge of this here operation. So today, it is! These enchiladas are a thing of pure beauty, folks. Creamy, cheesy sauce poured over green chile chicken enchilada goodness. What could get better than that?
We used to call my dad ‘Big Daddy’ because well, he was a big, jolly fella in his day. He was also the kind of dad who warranted the name ‘Daddy’ even when I was well into my twenties.
My daddy could cook like you wouldn’t believe. That goofy man didn’t need a recipe. He just needed a little inspiration, a long trip to the store, and a few corny jokes along the way. He made these enchiladas more times than I can remember, and one day, I finally got him to write down everything he was using and how he was using it. It’s taken me years and many, many “nope, not quite”s in order to get this recipe to its current glorious, Big Daddy status. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do. That’s the way Daddy would’ve wanted it.
I have to admit that these are not authentic Mexican enchiladas. I don’t think the abuelitas would approve of cream of chicken and cream of celery as a topping. But, nonetheless, these are easy to whip together and delicious to boot! Here are the stars of our show (minus oil + a few spices):
First, sauté a white onion in some vegetable oil.
Add in a drained can of Rotel and 2 cans of diced green chiles.
Mix together some spices (cayenne, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, and black pepper).
Sprinkle seasoning over chile and onion mixture.
Stir in some chopped, cooked chicken breast.
You’ve got to toast the tortillas in order to get them to a good texture. If you don’t, they won’t hold up under the sauce and chiles and you’ll have a mushy mess on your hands. It doesn’t take long to toast them all, especially if you can do two at a time, so it’s worth the extra effort!
I keep the heat on medium-high and toast both sides of the tortilla (no oil or spray or anything) for about 1 minute per side. This little number below was toasted a bit too much, so this would be what you don’t want:
For the chicken, I’ve included a note that says all the different kinds of cooked chicken you can use. You can boil chicken breasts in chicken stock/broth until cooked (about 20-25 minutes). You can throw them in the slow cooker in stock/broth for about 8 hours (I did this a couple days before making the enchiladas and froze the extra cooked chicken). You can also buy a shredded rotisserie chicken at the store and use that. At any rate, you’re just looking for some nice, lean cooked chicken. The main seasoning and flavor will come from the green chiles, Rotel, and spices.
All righty. After you’ve toasted your tortillas and you’ve got your chicken + chile mixture ready to go, it’s time to assemble some enchiladas.
Pour a nice scoopful into a tortilla.
Roll and place seam-side-down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Repeat until you’ve filled your baking dish. If you have extra filling, you can always sprinkle it over top the rolled enchiladas. (PS – can you spy that over-toasted little tortilla? He still made the cut. Even if you overdo it with the toasting just a bit, the creamy sauce and cheese will make up for it. No need to toss out a good tortilla.)
Speaking of the creamy sauce… it’s a simple combo of cream of chicken, cream of celery, and chicken stock/broth.
Pour it all over the enchiladas and make sure every inch of them is touched with the sauce.
Spread the cheese over the sauce. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with some cilantro and diced avocado.
You can also opt to bake the enchiladas later (up to a day). Just cover them with foil and throw ’em in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, remove the enchiladas from the fridge while you preheat the oven.
Remove the foil and bake as directed above.
I had quite a bit of leftover filling, so I actually went ahead and made another tray of enchiladas. Gotta love a recipe that can really stretch!
Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
12-16 corn tortillas
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 white onion, finely diced
2 4-oz. cans chopped green chiles (we use 1 mild and 1 hot)
1 10-oz. can Rotel, drained
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded or diced*
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of celery
1 cup chicken stock/broth
1 6-oz. bag shredded Mexican blend cheese (shredded cheddar and Colby Jack work great, too)
Cilantro leaves and diced avocado, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375.
Heat one large or two smaller nonstick skillets over medium-high heat. Toast tortillas on both sides until browned (about 1 minute per side). Remove to a plate and repeat until all tortillas are toasted.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until translucent (about 8 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add green chile and Rotel, stir to combine, and cook for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle spices all over, stir, and add cooked chicken. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Combine cream of chicken, cream of celery, and chicken stock in a medium bowl.
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and begin assembling enchiladas. Spoon some of the chile and chicken mixture into a tortilla, roll up, and place seam-side-down in the dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. (There will probably be extra filling. You can sprinkle this over the top of the assembled enchiladas or freeze for another time.) Pour cream mixture over the enchiladas and sprinkle on the cheese.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until cheese has melted. Garnish with cilantro and diced avocado.
*Options for cooked chicken breast:
• Use a rotisserie chicken
• Cook chicken breasts in a slow cooker in chicken stock for 8 hours until cooked through
• Boil chicken breasts in chicken stock/broth for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through
Make ahead: Assemble enchiladas, pour cream sauce on top, and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil and leave in the fridge for up to 1 day ahead. Remove from fridge, remove foil, and allow to come to room temperature while oven preheats. Cook as directed above.