Oaxacan Enchiladas Made Simple

easyenchiladasWe love good Mexican food in the Salzman household. Soft tacos are a weekly staple on our dinner table (using leftover grilled steak or roasted chicken, sauted with a little bit of onion and garlic), served with fresh salsa, sliced avocado, and if time permits, pickled onions.

One of our favorite neighborhood haunts is Monte Alban. Isaac not only eats his entire meal (enchiladas mole), but he polishes off half of Levi’s “Camarones a la Diabla”. We all crave the diabla sauce and if I would let him, Isaac would “lick” his plate clean. We save that behavior for the privacy of our own home!

When ever I find my kids getting bored with my cooking, I ask all of them to list their five favorite meals. Enchiladas always gets a collective thumbs up and is a meal that rarely gets the, “oh no, not that again…I don’t like that anymore”. Enchilads seems like a labor intensive task, but it really isn’t. With a little bit of prep and organization, this meal can be whipped up in 30 mintues or less.


Here are my 3 tips for this quick meal:

1. Make a double batch of the sauce and freeze it for another meal.

2. Roast the chicken breasts first thing in the morning. By the time the kids leave for school, it will be cool enough to shred.

3. Asssmeble before cleaning up the breakfast dishes. Cover and keep at room temperature until dinner time.

If you find yourselves with a few extra minutes, these chocolate pot de creme’s can be made in a matter of minutes. They disappear quickly. Make one or two extra and hide them in the back of the fridge. You won’t be sorry you had.

Oaxacan Enchiladas

3 oz. dried guajillo chiles
4 cloves garlic, peeled
8 plum tomatoes, cored
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and diced.
1 medium white onion, quartered
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 slice gluten free bread, toasted and crumbled
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Celtic sea salt, to taste
18 – 6″ corn tortillas
1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated raw goat cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place 3 chicken breasts (with bone and skin) onto a rimmed baking sheet. Rub safflower oil on chicken and generously sprinkle Celtic sea salt and pepper over chicken. Roast chicken for about 35 minutes. Make a small cut into the fattest part of the breast and if the juices run clear when cut, the chicken is done. Let rest while you prepare the sauce.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, and add chiles. Cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a glass bowl and cover with 3 cups boiling water. Let sit 20 minutes or until soft.

Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Cut vertically and remove and discard stems and seeds.

Toss chiles into a blender along with 1 ½ cups soaking liquid. Purée until smooth, and set aside.

Return skillet to high heat, and add garlic, tomatoes, serrano chiles, and onion. Cook vegetables until they are lightly charred all over, about 10-14 minutes. transfer vegetables to a glass bowl, and let cool. Return skillet to high heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. When just smoking, add chile purée. Fry, stirring constantly, until thickened to a paste, about 12 minutes.

Pour paste into a blender along with vegetables, stock, oregano, pepper, and bread and purée until smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer over your cast iron skillet. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press sauce through the strainer to catch as much of the sauce as possible.

Once sauce boils, reduce heat to medium and reduce to thicken. Stir in coconut sugar and juice and keep warm while you prepare and assemble enchiladas.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Place tortillas (can be overlapping) on your prepared sheet pan. Using an oil mister, spray tortillas lightly on both sides. Bake for 4 minutes and then remove from the oven. Turn oven down to 350°F.

Ladle a scoop or two of sauce onto the bottom of a 11 x 14″ roasting pan. Spread evenly. Set aside.

To assemble enchiladas, place tortilla on a work surface and layer chicken and cheese. Roll each tortilla around your stuffing to form tight rolls. Place in your prepared roasting pan, seam side down. Repeat until all of your stuffing has been used. Ladle additonal sauce over tortillas, sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15 minutes.

Garnish with sliced green onion. Serve hot.


Susan Salzman writes The Urban Baker blog to explore her dedication to good food in the hope of adding beauty to the lives of her family and friends.