Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Adam Hickman and Briana Riddock
Active Time:
50 Mins
Total Time:
1 Hour 30 Mins
Yield:
Serves 6 (serving size: 2 enchiladas)

Are you ready for the best chicken enchiladas of your life? While you could use a rotisserie chicken for this cheesy enchilada recipe, poaching chicken breasts in a delicately flavored liquid both creates succulently tender meat (that won’t dry out as the casserole bakes) and adds another layer of flavor to the dish. The key to successful poaching is temperature control; you want to keep your poaching liquid from ever reaching a boil. In fact, you should aim to keep the water at a state of releasing wispy spouts of steam from the surface, but never bubbling, throughout the entirety of the cooking process. (It’s not nearly as intense/difficult as it seems.) You should also try to purchase chicken breasts that are roughly the same size so that they cook at the same rate. While the total prep time on this recipe isn’t exactly what you might consider “speedy,” it’s a fun dish to prepare and assemble with another helper in the kitchen. Prep a pan (or two, so you have one for the freezer!) on Sunday to enjoy heading into a new week. Featuring smoky ancho chili powder and some of the poaching liquid, the homemade enchilada sauce is another distinguishing delight of this dish; however, if you’re looking to shave time off of the recipe, you can substitute store-bought sauce. And if you opt to use rotisserie or leftover chicken as a shortcut, but still want to make your sauce from scratch, simply substitute water and/or chicken stock for the liquid called for. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine broth, half of the onion, and 4 of the oregano sprigs in a medium saucepan over medium-high; bring to a boil.

Step 2

Add chicken to pan; reduce heat to medium-low, and keep cooking liquid between 160°F and 180°F. Cook chicken until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 160°F, 25 to 30 minutes. (Keeping the cooking liquid at the right temperature is important. You want it to be steamy, but not bubble at all.)

Step 3

Remove chicken from cooking liquid, and let cool 15 minutes. Shred chicken. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Step 4

Finely chop remaining half onion (about 3/4 cup). Combine tomato sauce, chile powder, garlic, flour, cumin, salt, chopped onion, and reserved 2 cups cooking liquid in a medium saucepan over high; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the tomato mixture. Add shredded chicken and beans to remaining tomato mixture in pan; toss to coat.

Step 5

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla, and roll up. Arrange rolled tortillas, seam side down, in a 13- x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Evenly top with reserved 2 cups tomato mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Top with chopped tomatoes, avocado, and leaves from remaining 2 oregano sprigs (about 2 Tbsp.). Dollop with sour cream.

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