Photo: Leo Gong
Total Time
1 Hour
Makes 2 enchiladas (each 3 to 4 servings)

Though the sauce for this impressive layered enchilada dish tastes complex, it's made with canned chile sauce doctored up with sweet spices, raisins, pine nuts, and smoky chipotle chiles. For a hotter sauce, add more chipotles and adobo sauce to the chicken mixture.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook onion with olive oil, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 2

Stir in 3/4 cup red chile sauce, the pine nuts, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar. Add chicken, then bring mixture to a boil, stirring. Remove from heat. Pour remaining red chile sauce into a pie pan.

Step 3

To make enchilada stacks, dip 1 tortilla in chile sauce in pie pan to coat. Place on an ovenproof dinner plate. Repeat with another tortilla on a second plate. Spread each tortilla evenly with a heaping 1/3 cup chicken mixture, then with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering with 8 more tortillas, dipping them in sauce, then adding chicken mixture and cheese to make 2 stacks of 5 layers. (You'll use all the chicken but not all the cheese.) Dip the last 2 tortillas in sauce, place each, curved side down, on stack, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Step 4

Bake enchiladas until hot in the center and cheese bubbles on top, 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5

Meanwhile, pour remaining chile sauce from the pie pan into a microwave-safe pitcher and cook in a microwave oven on full power until simmering, 1 to 2 minutes. To make the salad, stir together radishes, lime juice, and extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Just before serving, stir in cabbage and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 6

Top each enchilada with a small mound of salad and cut in thirds or quarters to serve. Offer with remaining salad and chile sauce to add to taste.

Step 7

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1/4-stack serving.

Chef's Notes

Six-inch-wide tortillas are available at Latino markets and some supermarkets (you can use larger tortillas, but the stacks won't look as tall or grand).

To speed preparation, buy shredded cabbage.  To make enchiladas ahead, assemble them, but reserve the final cheese that goes on top and don't bake. Cover tightly with a piece of oiled foil and chill for up to 1 day. Bake, covered, in a 375° oven until hot in the center, about 50 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with reserved cheese, and bake about 5 minutes more.

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Ratings & Reviews

gardengnome132's Review

January 25, 2014
Excellent recipe. I followed it exactly and we both loved it, I cut the stacks into 3rds, making 6 portions. With the salad topping, it didn't need anything else for a side. I also removed the chipotle seeds as it's a bit too spicy for us left in.

Lumpy52's Review

December 18, 2012
Have been making this since it first came out. I freeze half of the chicken mixture for a later enchilada. We love the blend of flavors. To keep it a bit less spicy I remove the chipotle seeds and ribs before chopping. Did the salad once but not since. Instead serve a simple side salad of greens with fruit.

LoriDiaz's Review

October 06, 2012
The sauce is delicious. I didn't add the pine nuts or raisins but did add garlic. Beautiful presentation and a nice twist on the traditional rolled enchiladas.

JennySmith's Review

Donna Keeler
February 27, 2010
I thought this dish would be quite tasty, but ended up not liking the flavor that much. I think this has to do with my personal tastes - turns out I don't like the smoky adobo/chipotle flavor. I ended up having a lot of extra chicken leftover, but not enough cheese per layer (so I added more). This recipe is not hard, but it is time-consuming. I would advise that those who like the chipotle/adobo flavor to give this one a try!

Donna Keeler's Review

November 01, 2009
Excellent enhilada recipe! I grew up in Mexico eating many different enchlada dishes and this ranks near the top. Everyone who eats them wants the recipe! It's great served with warm salsa verde.

kaclay's Review

April 10, 2009
Wonderful! I was a little hesitant adding raisins and pine nuts as I thought it wasn’t really “Mexican” but the ingredients added much flavor and sparked conversation at the dinner table! My friends have nothing but great things to say about this recipe! Its very easy to make and it looks as good as its tastes when complete! Making it for the 6th time tonight!