As I’ve mentioned before, New York is not the place to live if you love Tex-Mex. Sure, there are plenty of taco and burrito places and many restaurants that claim to serve my native state’s cuisine, but if you want an enchilada plate with rice and refried beans, you’re better off making it yourself.
After being here for two years, I gave up on finding a restaurant that made decent salsa, let alone anything else. I’ve slowly but surely learned to make many of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes at home. I still get homesick for Texas on occasion, but being able to go into my kitchen and make something that tastes familiar and comforting always helps.
I’ve had many successes over the last seven years (see here, here, and here), but these Enchiladas Suizas are my best homemade Tex-Mex to date. When I dug into a plate of them on Saturday night, I figured they’d be pretty good, but I didn’t expect for them to blow my mind. They were creamy, tangy, and reminded me almost exactly of the enchiladas at my family’s favorite restaurant. I made them again on Sunday, just to see if it had been a fluke, but sure enough, these Enchiladas Suizas are everything I remember and more. So. Good.
If you didn’t grow up in North Texas, you may be wondering what Enchiladas Suizas are. The short answer is that they’re chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo-sour cream sauce. The better answer is that they’re heaven on earth.
The sauce is what makes these enchiladas so special. It starts with roasting tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, and onion. Those are blended with cilantro, lime, sour cream, and slightly-thickened chicken stock. The result is a creamy, tangy, spicy magic. Seriously, I could put this stuff on everything.
Once the sauce is made, put a little in the bottom of a baking dish and roll the enchiladas. The tortillas are briefly fried to keep them them from tearing during the rolling process. Then each tortilla is topped with shredded chicken, onion, and Monterey Jack cheese before being rolled into a cigar shape and laid seam-side down in the baking dish. Once all the enchiladas are rolled, top them with the rest of the sauce and some more cheese and bake until bubbly. Then eat more than is appropriate because…damn.
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2-3/4 pound fresh tomatillos, sliced in half
1-2 jalapeños, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded (optional)
1/4 small sweet onion, peeled
2 cloves fresh garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
16 corn tortillas
1/2 small onion, small diced
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Place chicken breasts and salt in a medium pot. Cover with cold water by two inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate to cool until you can handle it. Shred with two forks or your hands.
Make the sauce. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, and garlic on the pan. Drizzle with canola oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 375F.
Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until a thin paste forms. Whisk in chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
In a high-powered blender, combine roasted vegetables and stock mixture.* Blitz until smooth. Add cilantro, lime juice, sour cream, and salt, and process again.
Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, briefly fry each tortilla for 5 seconds per side before laying on a plate.
Assemble the enchiladas. Grease a large casserole (9×13″) with oil. Pour in 1 cup of sauce and spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Take tortillas one-by-one, filling them with 3-4 tablespoons of shredded chicken, 1-2 teaspoons of onion, and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Roll them tightly before placing them seam-side down in the prepared pan. Once enchiladas are rolled, top with the additional 2 cups of sauce and any leftover cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is brown and the sauce is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
1. Alternatively, you may use 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. Skip the boiling step and go straight to making the sauce.
2. Hot liquids expand while blending. Please be careful!