Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas

I have a resolution of sorts.  We have all of these cookbooks around the house.  Cookbooks on grilling and baking.  Italian, Greek, and French cookbooks.  New Orleans and Sante Fe cookbooks.  And nearly every cookbook written by Ina Garten.  And yet, more often than not, when I look for a recipe, my first instinct is to look online.

My resolution is to break that habit, even if ever so slightly.  It seems only logical.  Recipes online are often unreliable and hard to reproduce.  Even my own recipes can sometimes be hard to reproduce, as I begin making adjustments.  Cookbooks, however, at least suggest a great reliability (though with the prevalence of ghost-writing, who can really say?).

As reliability goes, America’s Test Kitchen is one of my go-to companions.  Indeed, their selling point is testing and re-testing products, ingredients, and recipes.

We recently received the massive, 900-page, America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, with recipes collected from the show’s  fifteen-year history.  This recipe is the first — and hopefully not the last — recipe from this book.

My own guacamole recipe follows.

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chili Sauce and Guacamole

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen TV Cookbook

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6

1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about three cloves)
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs,
  trimmed and cut into ½-inch wide strips
2 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce
¾ cup water
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
4 ounces of pickles jalapeno chilies, drained and chopped
*1 8-ounce can of black beans (Vegetarian option)

10 to 12 Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Romaine lettuce, chopped

2 ripe avocados
1 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Collage Enchilada



1.  Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about five minutes. Add the garlic chili powder, coriander, cumin, sugar, and salt, and cook, stirring to constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until coated with the spices, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and water, stirring to separate the chicken pieces as needed. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and the flavors of melted, about eight minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the chicken to a large plate and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3.  In medium bowl, combine the cheddar, cilantro, and jalapenos. Add the chicken and mix together. *To make a few vegetarian enchiladas, simply swap the chicken for the black beans at this step.

4.  Heat the oven to 300°.


5.  Smear the bottom of a 13 x 9″ baking dish with ¾ of a cup of the chili sauce. Meanwhile, place the tortillas in a single layer onto baking sheets. Spray the tortillas lightly with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the tortillas are soft and pliable, about four minutes. Transfer the warm tortillas to work surface.

6. Increase the oven temperature to 400°.

7. Spread 1/3 cup of the filling down the center of each tortilla. Roll each tortilla tightly by hand and place, seam side down, side-by-side on the sauce in the baking dish. Repeat until there is no more filling.

8.  Pour the remaining chili sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce so it coats the top of each tortilla. Sprinkle the cheese down the center of the enchiladas.

9. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake the enchiladas on the lower middle rack until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately with the sour cream, extra cheese, avocado, lettuce, and lime wedges.


Squeeze the lime and lemon juice into a medium mixing bowl.  Add the chopped onion, cilantro, and avocado.  Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lightly mash with a fork.  Allow the flavors to come together for 10-15 minutes.  Then serve!




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