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When Hanger Strikes

  • Writer's pictureMari

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

A dish well worth the work- chicken & cheese enchiladas! Yes, there are a few steps involved, but nothing you can’t handle. You can assemble this dish on a weekend, keep it in the fridge, then bake it off on a busy weeknight when you need something tasty. What’s kind of cool about this dish is although it has multiple steps, they all tie into each other (if that makes sense). You poach the chicken breasts in liquid to cook it, then the shredded chicken goes into the filling, and the poaching liquid goes into the enchilada sauce. Life is a circle...and so are these enchiladas :)

Makes 4 enchiladas


For the Broth

2 chicken breasts (you can use frozen for this recipe)

4 cups water

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 of a white onion, cut in chunks

1 bay leaf

1 dried red chili (optional)

1 tsp salt

For the Enchilada Sauce

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs flour

1-2 tbs chili powder, depending on your spice level

1 tbs garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


1 tsp honey

1 tsp white vinegar

Salt to taste

For the Chicken

1 tbs olive oil

3/4 white onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of half a lime

1/4-1/2 cup enchilada sauce

To Assemble

4 large flour tortillas

2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used a mozzarella cheddar blend)

1-2 tbs vegetable oil

Remaining enchilada sauce


1. Start with the broth. In a saucepan, add the chicken breasts, 4 cups of water, the smashed garlic cloves, 1/4 of the white onion, the bay leaf, the dried chili, and 1 tsp salt. Bring the broth up to a boil on medium heat, then turn the heat down to medium low.

2. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked through. If you are using frozen chicken breast, this will take about 40 minutes. If you used fresh chicken breasts, it should take about 25-30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth. Once cool enough to handle, use 2 forks to shred. Set aside. Strain the broth and set the liquid aside for the enchilada sauce.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F and then prepare the enchilada sauce. Add enough water to the broth from the previous steps to make 2 cups of liquid. Set aside. In a medium sized saucepan, add 3 tbs of olive oil. Turn the heat up to medium. In a small bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, oregano, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Depending on your spice level and the kind of chili powder you use, you may want to adjust the amount. Once the oil starts smoking, add the flour mixture and whisk vigorously to prevent burning. Continue whisking for 1 minute to lightly cook the spices, then add about half of the broth. Whisk until you have a smooth, thick sauce, then add the remaining broth, along with the honey and vinegar. Whisk again to fully combine. Once the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, turn the heat down to low. Taste and add some salt if necessary. Let the sauce simmer on low for an additional 10-12 minutes, whisking often. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the chicken.

4. To a frying pan, add 1 tbs of olive oil. Turn the heat up to medium high. Once the oil begins to smoke, add the diced bell peppers, remaining onion, and minced garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken to the pan along with the lime juice. Sauté for an additional 4 minutes until the chicken begins to brown. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to the chicken and stir well to combine. Sauté until the liquid has absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add salt if necessary. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. To assemble the enchiladas, spread a few spoons of the enchilada sauce all over the base of a flour tortilla. Add 1/4 of the chicken, and 1/4 of the shredded cheese. Tuck the sides of the tortilla in, then wrap up like a burrito. Repeat with the remaining flour tortillas.

6. In a large frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, place the enchiladas in the pan, seam side down. Fry for 30-45 seconds to brown, then repeat on all sides to brown the entire enchilada. Depending on the size of your pan, you can do this step in batches.

7. Spread 1 tbs of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the enchiladas in the dish, seam side down. Cover with the remaining enchilada sauce, then bake for 12-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.


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