I’m from San Antonio and Mexican food is a Christmas Eve tradition. These green chicken enchiladas are a hit every time I've made them. We had tamales at Christmas as far back as I can remember. Our neighbor, Mrs. Vega, used to make them for us. If you haven’t had a tamale, they’re cornmeal steamed around some savory filling – usually beef or pork – and wrapped in a corn husk. If you’re not from my neck of the woods and you meet a tamale, please take the corn husk off before trying to eat it.
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Green chicken enchiladas
Tamale making is a serious production. I own a tamale pot and I’m pretty sure I have most of the ingredients needed to make them but I’ve never attempted it. We are lucky to live where we live because it’s easy to get good tamales. Most of the Mexican restaurants sell them by the dozen and our local grocery store has surprisingly delicious tamales. My favorite ones are the bean and jalapeno but I don’t think I’ve ever had a tamale I didn’t like.
My mom decided to get serious one year and make enchiladas to go with our tamales on Christmas Eve and so that tradition was born. I’ve been making Christmas enchiladas for the past 20 years or more. My mom and I’ve never made these together and to the best of my knowledge, she didn’t follow a recipe. I asked her how to make them, took notes and my recipe has evolved over time.
This recipe makes 28-30 Enchiladas – two pans. My measurements are never exact but I’ve tried my best to be accurate in case you want to try and follow it at home. And you totally should make these. They are SO GOOD!
I buy all of my chicken from Zaycon Fresh. I know that sounds like a super futuristic name but it’s really just how I save money on meats fresh from the farm and eliminate the middle man. Plus, I stock up my freezer a few times a year and it makes meal planning easier. You can use my affiliate link HERE to check out the service and I’ll get a small commission from Zaycon Fresh if you sign up.
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Assembling the enchiladas is quite messy so set yourself up like so:
These are time-consuming…not gonna lie. They take awhile to put together. But, they are not at all difficult. .
These freeze well if you want to make them ahead of time. These easy green chicken enchiladas are a Christmas tradition for my family. I hope you make them yours…and if green chicken enchiladas don't fit your definition of Christmas tradition, I hope you make them for dinner one night. You won't be sorry!
The BEST Green Chicken Enchiladas
I bet you never knew making enchiladas was so easy!
4.5 cups of cooked shredded chicken or turkey
4 cups shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend but you can use any kind of cheese you want.)
3/4 cup of vegetable, canola or safflower oil
6 cups of enchilada sauce. I use Old El Paso brand or whatever I can find.
¾ cup chopped onion – optional. I’m totally lazy and I use the frozen, diced onion.
Topping of your choice – We like sour cream, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. I LOVE incorporating citrus into my cooking…even just a squeeze really deepens the flavor of this dish.
Pour half cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of each pan. Make sure the bottom of the pan is covered.
Heat oil on low heat. Your oil should be barely warm. If your tortillas are too hot to handle after they come out of the oil, you've got the heat too high.
Soak your tortillas in the warm oil for a couple of seconds on each side, just enough to moisten and soften it. Place a tablespoon (or so) of meat filling in the center of the tortilla and roll from one side as tight as you can. Place “seam” side down in the pan. I use wooden toothpicks to hold the shape while I’m assembling the rest of these bad boys but I take the toothpicks out before baking.
Pour remaining sauce over top.
Cover liberally with cheese. You cannot have too much cheese. Sprinkle diced onion over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. I usually do one pan with onions one pan without.