This is serious comfort food—like, “eat it with a fork straight out of the pan in the middle of the night” comfort food. When I served this to my friend Jorie for the first time, she described it as a chicken pot pie with green chilies, and that’s a great way to put it.
These enchiladas are my go-to “new baby” meal. I’m not going to tell you this dish is particularly healthy, with all the sour cream and cheese. But here’s the thing: when I was pregnant, I swore up and down that the second each of my babies was born, all I would want is fruit and lean meats. Possibly a veggie.
And with each child, I have distinct memories of destroying a pan of enchiladas late at night, standing in the kitchen alone. That may be just me, of course, and I’m not going to tell you that the only time I’ve done that is immediately postpartum, but what I am telling you is that no matter what the new mom says, I’m pretty sure she wants a pan of Annette’s enchiladas.
You can adjust the level of heat by choosing mild or medium enchilada sauce and mild or medium chilies. For new moms, I use the mild version of both, but for anyone else, I do medium — the sour cream and cheese cut the heat a little bit.
You’ll notice that these enchiladas aren’t rolled but rather layered, more like a lasagna—it’s all part of the awesome that is this recipe. The first reason this is sheer genius: you don’t run into the problem of having the chicken get all dry and lonely rolled up inside the tortilla while all the good stuff is hanging out separately. Second, you don’t have to portion it according to each rolled tortilla—this way, you just scoop out portions the way you would with lasagna.
When I’m taking this dish to a new mom, I add chips and salsa, black beans, and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. For Christmas one year, I gave my brother basically the same thing and called it “Dinner Party in a Box.” I made a pan of enchiladas, and added chips, salsa, black beans, beer, and a jar of caramel sauce. In the card I added cooking instructions and told him to buy a lime, vanilla ice cream, and cilantro just before the party. He reported back to me that the beer, chips, and salsa were put to good use right away, and that the enchiladas were delicious, even after being in his freezer — for a year and a half.
1 cup sour cream
1 28-ounce can green enchilada sauce (Las Palmas is best)
2 4-ounce small cans green chilies, diced
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
12 corn tortillas
1 cup chicken broth
– Mix green sauce with chilies and sour cream.
– Smooth 1 spoonful of the sauce mixture around the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.
– Simmer the chicken broth in a skillet, and before placing each tortilla in the 9 by 13 pan, use tongs to pass the tortilla through the broth for just a few seconds. If you leave the tortillas in the broth for too long, they’ll fall apart, so just dip each one in for a few seconds to soften it before putting it in the enchilada pan.
– Layer 4 tortillas over the first layer of sauce.
– After tortillas, add half the chicken, then one-third of the sauce, then one-third of the cheese.
– Repeat so there are 2 full layers.
– Finish with a layer of 4 more tortillas, the remaining third of the sauce, and the remaining third of the cheese.
– Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 30 to 35 minutes.
– Let sit at least 15 minutes before cutting. Top with chopped cilantro.
Bread & Wine, CHAPTER 19, love and enchiladas