Recipe: Green enchiladas

There's a reason this dish is such a classic. Read the recipe.
There’s a reason this dish is such a classic. Read the recipe.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Green enchiladas in the oven

Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 6

Note: Enchiladas are always better if made individually and served immediately. However, if you are having a party, you can assemble the dish like a casserole ahead of time. Assemble the enchiladas in the baking dish without adding the remaining salsa, cream or cheese. About 30 minutes before you are ready to sit down to dinner, pour the salsa on top of the dish, layer over the cream and cheese and place it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Chihuahua cheese and Mexican cream can be found in Latin markets.

Homemade green salsa

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24 tomatillos, cleaned and husked

1/2 onion, chopped

8 to 10 serrano chiles, stemmed (and seeded for less heat, or to taste)

1 1/2 cups washed, stemmed leaves of cilantro (from about ¼ of a large bunch)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the tomatillos and boil just until they darken to an olive shade, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

2. In a food processor, combine the boiled tomatillos with the onion, chiles, cilantro and salt. Pulse until the ingredients are blended to form a salsa. This makes a generous 6 cups of salsa, which can be covered and refrigerated until ready to use, up to 1 week.

Enchiladas assembly

Green salsa

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

12 small corn tortillas

2 to 4 cups boiled, shredded chicken

2/3 cup Mexican cream

2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (or Chihuahua cheese)

Salt to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently heat the salsa in a large saucepan until it is warm. When the salsa is warm, spoon about 1 cup of it to cover the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Gently dip both sides of the tortillas into the oil to soften, then quickly dip each of them into the salsa to coat. (For a lower-fat enchilada, skip the oil. Simply heat the tortillas in a microwave until they are soft and pliable.)

3. Place the tortilla on a plate and fill with a scant 3 tablespoons shredded chicken. Roll or fold the tortilla over like a taco and place in the baking dish. Repeat until all of the tortillas are assembled.

4. Cover the assembled tortillas with the remaining salsa and dot with teaspoon-sized dollops of the Mexican cream. Sprinkle over the cheese.

5. Place the baking dish in the oven and heat until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warm, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Each serving: 640 calories; 43 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 37 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 122 mg cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 900 mg sodium.