It’s no huge secret to those around me that I miss my Mexican food from back home. Big time. Obviously growing up in Southern California, there was never a shortage. And I think I took that for granted because living in Chicago, I have to admit, it hasn’t been so easy finding Mexican food that could compare. That’s not to say that there isn’t great Mexican food in the area, because there most certainly is, it’s just that you have to sift through a ton of not so awesome places first. Left and right, up and down, front and back, it’s been a hard search!
And yes, we do have Rick Bayless in Chicago, and that’s awesome—despite the fact that I’ve spent way more than my fair share of broke-grad-student-cash-monies eating at his restaurants. No seriously, way more. I’m a sucker for quality ingredients prepared well. That’s all. And if you spend money on good quality food to nourish your body then that’s money well spent in my handbook of life! Now that I’ve freed my mind…
There’s just something about Baja Mexican food, Mexican street food, and plain old traditional Mexican grub that feeds me happy. And like I said, it’s been a difficult search for this stuff.
But it was worth it because I have found ONE Mexican restaurant in Chicago that makes hands down, the BEST salsa verde chicken enchiladas I’ve ever had! Even better than any I’ve tasted in California (Obviously, I can only comment on what I’ve tried, and so far, I haven’t tried alltheenchiladas. Forgive me please.). So this place is our favorite Mexican restaurant in town and it will definitely be one of the restaurants we’ll miss the most when we say ‘toodles’ to Chi-town.
And although I’m usually a very slow eater, I devour those enchiladas at an embarrassingly rapid rate, every time. I just know the waiters wonder, too. “Hey, look who’s back! …Check out vacuum over there yet?” They always look so awkwardly (yet trying to come off as pleasantly) surprised when they come over to our table to check up on the progress. Whatever, I’ve got good manners, so I’m allowed to vacuum it up from time to time. That or it’s all in my head and those enchiladas make me lose touch with the world outside of my plate. I really don’t know.
Well, I set out to make a copycat version of their overly-delicious enchiladas because there is no way I’m going to be in love with a dish this much and not have it in my own recipe repertoire, at least if I can help it!
And after a few attempts that just weren’t quite right…
Here it is! The best salsa verde chicken enchiladas I’ve ever tasted. They’re simple, fresh, a little tangy, a little spicy, and just plain right on. And these are absolutely not made with a cream sauce or roux because nope. Honestly.
I mean c’mon! There’s ooey gooey cheesy love on top! We’re dandy.
- 8 corn tortillas
- ½ cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- Small handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped or ripped
- 16 oz (454g) tomatillo salsa verde (I like the Herdez brand)
- 2 breasts of rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)
- Salt to taste
- 1½ cups shredded Mexican chihuahua cheese
- Optional: Mexican crema (or regular sour cream)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (176ºC).
- Add half the oil to a small skillet on med-high heat, and add the first tortilla to the skillet. After a few seconds, using a fork or tongs carefully flip tortilla and allow to fry for another few seconds. The tortillas should crisp up slightly. Remove and set on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas and add the remainder of the oil to the skillet once you start running low.
- Next add about ½ (or a little less) of the salsa verde to the bottom of a large casserole dish and add the tortillas and allow them to soak the liquid to soften.
- Add a healthy pinch of salt to the shredded chicken and mix. Add a small handful of chicken to each tortilla, as well as a few slices of jalapeño. Roll up each tortilla and place them next to each other in the dish, seam-side down.
- Top with remainder of salsa verde and cheese.
- Bake in oven for 25 min and then broil on high for about 3 min or until cheese has bubbled and started to golden.
- Top with cilantro, maybe some more jalapeño slices, and sour cream if you like. Enjoy!!