For a long time, any Mexican style salsa was off-limits in the kitchen for me. I always thought I could never make it better than my Mexican homestay mom, or all the women who sell delicious food in the street. But I finally did the unthinkable and tried to make salsa verde. Let me tell you- SO easy! Honestly, you just boil a few ingredients and then whirl them up in the blender and you’re good to go. I even had some left over from this enchilada bake that I uses as a dip for chips or could spoon on top of eggs.
Enchiladas verdes are one of my favorite Mexican dishes and I knew I had to share them with you all for a Fiesta Fridays post. I changed things up and made this an enchilada bake instead of rolling the tortillas mostly because I feel like every time I do that they break. Layering all the ingredients is super simple and makes for yet another meal you can make ahead and eat throughout the week. I’m all for the glass casserole dish now that I have an oven again.
The ingredient list and instructions looks complicated for this dish, but I promise it isn’t. When you’re making this, you could even make some extra chicken, portion it into containers or bags, and freeze for later. It is great on Soba Noodles with a Spicy Peanut Sauce or in a Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Spinach Hummus Quesadilla.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make shredded chicken, I’ve got the deets for you. Fill a large pot about 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 white onion (peeled and cut into four large pieces) and about 3 whole peeled garlic cloves. Throw in about 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts and boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the center is no longer pink. The timing will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts. You may have to pull one of the chicken breasts out and cut into it to make sure that it is thoroughly cooked (no pink in the middle). The onion and garlic are not required, but I highly recommend you boil them with the chicken because they add some necessary flavor. When the breasts have cooled you have a few options for shredding: you can use your hands or two forks to pull the meat apart, or I’ve heard that you can use a Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment to shred the chicken breasts. Unfortunately, I do not have a Kitchen Aid mixer, so I go with the hand method.
So get shreddin’ and enjoy this make-ahead meal!
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 white onion, chopped into four pieces
- 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 and 1/2 lbs. tomatillos
- cooked white onion and 3 cloves garlic (use from cooking the chicken)
- 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- salt, to taste
- 2-3 cups salsa verde
- 1/2 lb. small corn tortillas
- 2 and 1/2 cups shredded chicken
- 1/2 cup grated manchego or cheddar cheese
- Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a boil. Add onions, garlic, and chicken.
- Boil chicken for about 10-15 minutes or until it is no longer pink in the middle. The timing will depend on the thickness of your chicken breasts, and you may need to pull one out and cut it with a knife to see if it is finished yet.
- When thoroughly cooked, remove onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and place into a blender. Remove chicken breasts and let cool before shredding (you can make the salsa verde while the chicken cools). DO NOT discard the water.
- Once cool, using your fingers, two forks, or a Kitchen Aid mixer with paddle attachment, pull the chicken apart.
- Remove the outer skin of the tomatillos and rinse clean with water. Add whole tomatillos to the same water used to cook the chicken and return the water to a boil. Once boiling, simmer tomatillos for about 5 minutes, or until tomatillos are soft when you poke them with a fork. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon, add them to the blender with the onion and garlic. Discard the water.
- Add cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeño peppers to the blender.
- Blend everything together until everything is smooth. Season to taste with salt.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan and spread a layer of salsa verde on the bottom. Cover with tortillas (its okay if they overlap a bit) and sprinkle with shredded chicken. Top with more salsa verde. Continue layering with tortillas, chicken and salsa verde, ending with tortillas, salsa verde, and shredded cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Remove and let cool for at least ten minutes before slicing and serving.
- Garnish with avocado, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh cilantro.
Salsa Verde recipe adapted from Simple Recipes: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/tomatillo_salsa_verde/