May 3, 2011 2:50 PM
Enchiladas Verdes: in a Tomatillo Sauce
POSTED IN: Anytime Antojos , Recipes
TAGS: chicken , cream , enchiladas , fresco , mexican , queso , recipe , salsa , tomatillo , verde
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Now that Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, friends are asking me what we will be eating to celebrate...and what I am craving most are Enchiladas Verdes. The perfect yummy family food that stays messy on the casserole.

Even though most native Mexicans know that Cinco de Mayo isn't a big celebration in Mexico (as a matter of fact, it is mostly celebrated in Puebla), we embrace it outside of Mexico with all our hearts without really knowing why. I guess it is a great excuse to celebrate what we love and miss about Mexico- like the tomatillo. A native Mexican ingredient that is the corner stone of so many dishes.

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The tomatillo, like Cinco de Mayo, has been adopted in the U.S. It can now be found in most supermarkets and it seems to me it will grow big time in American kitchens as it is such a spectacular ingredient. 

While on the outside it isn't the most appealing ingredient because of the papery and dusty husk, once you peel it, rinse it and try it, you will see what a gorgeous jewel it is, both in looks and in flavor!  Most people know it from it being used to make salsa verde, which is exactly what these enchiladas are covered in. You can also find cans and jars of ready made salsa, but it is so easy to  make at home, that you should give it a try. It's tastier too.  

To make the salsa, simmer the tomatillos in water with the garlic, until they are soft and pale green.  Then transfer the tomatillos and garlic to the blender and puree with the jalapeƱo or serrano chiles, cilantro leaves, onion and salt.

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Then to make your enchiladas the best they can be, one at a time, pass each corn tortilla through already hot oil until they change color and soften.  This will prevent them from breaking as you roll them.  The oil also makes the tortillas resilient, so they will hold on to that yummy tomatillo sauce.

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Place some of the shredded chicken into each of the corn tortillas and roll them up.  I like them chunky. You can cook the chicken at home or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, they both work great here!

Place the rolled tortillas seam side down in a casserole dish.  Pour the tomatillo sauce, generously, over the top. Then bake them for 10 to 15 minutes.

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When they are out of the oven, drizzle Mexican cream over the top. Mexican cream has a tangy flavor, and when it hits the warm enchiladas, it will warm up, become melty, and become even more creamy, and at the same time it will add some fresh notes to the dish.

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Crumble up some queso fresco on top too. It will keep on crumbling right in your mouth as you eat it.  Add some onion for a nice crunch...   Then they are ready to go!

Enchiladas can be made with many different sauces and fillings.  This take has the traditional salsa verde or green tomatillo sauce and chicken, but you can play with the fillings.

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 If you have extra tomatillo salsa left over...  Try serving it over tilapia filets, baked in the oven; or served on top of sunny side up eggs in the morning.  This tomatillo sauce is truly limitless.

You can eat Enchiladas Verdes like me, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But you can also eat them everyday. After all, everyday is worthy of being celebrated, with a Mexican excuse or not.

Enchiladas Verdes
Serves 6 to 8

For the Sauce
2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
2 garlic cloves
2 serrano chiles, or to taste
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
1 tbsp safflower or corn oil

For the Enchiladas
2 cups shredded cooked chicken(home cooked or rotisserie works great!)
Oil for frying the tortillas
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup Mexican or Latin style cream, can substitute for heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco, farmers cheese, Cotija or mild feta
1/3 cup white onion, chopped, for garnish

Place the tomatillos and garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from bright to pale green, are cooked through, and are soft but not coming apart.

Place the tomatillos, garlic and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree. Add the chiles serranos, cilantro leaves, onion and salt, and puree again until smooth. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until it thickens and deepens in color. Taste for salt and add more if need be.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add enough oil to have about 1/2 inch depth. Let it heat about 3 minutes. Gently, "pass each tortilla through the oil", one by one, for about 15 seconds on each side, they will soften and become resilient. You should be able to fold them without breaking them. Transfer them to a paper towel covered plate.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken inside of each tortilla and roll them up. Place them, seam side down on a baking dish. Cover, generously, with the green sauce. Place them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese, the cream, and the chopped onion. They are very satisfying with a side of rice and/or beans, as well as with a light green salad.

Eat the enchiladas while they are hot!


NO COMMENTS???!!! These are one of the top ten at home for breakfast!!! I don't bake them though (but will try it) Visiting your blog makes me sooo hungry! un abrazo.

Renata | May 11, 2011 9:58 PM

Hey Pati,

I was wondering if you have a cookbook out? I came across your show on PBS and fell in love with the recipes you were making.


Kara Kirk | May 15, 2011 9:05 AM

Hola Kara,
Thanks so much for asking about my cookbook! I'm actually still working on it, and it should be out by 2012. I'm getting it to you as fast as I can! It makes me so happy that you are loving the recipes!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Kara Kirk | May 17, 2011 3:58 PM

I seen your show and I loved it!!
I love how simple you make it
and I actualy can follow and understand

Thank you

Alexandra | May 19, 2011 8:49 PM

Hi pati
I love your show and the recipes. I totally understand your approach to food and how easy you make it for all. Keep up the good work.

meghana | May 20, 2011 4:47 PM

May 20, 2011. Patti, I am first-born Mexican American but I love and enjoy cooking Mexican food. However, I don't know many authentic receipe other than Rick Bayless. I love the information you shared with the audience especially about the pure brown sugar. Whenever I saw the cone, I thought it was candy. Thanks, for educating me. Teresa

Teresa | May 20, 2011 5:29 PM

Ms Pati,

u r a lovely lady and i enjoy watching u cook your yummy recipes

they remind me so much of mi abuelas recipes when i used 2 help her in the kitchen

once u have your cookbook ready, please do let us know; i will run 2 the store 2 buy it

4 now i print the recipes on the website

Nita | May 21, 2011 8:34 PM

love, love ,love your show please let me know when you have a cookbook i really enjoy watching your show ....

vereniz | May 23, 2011 9:32 PM

Hi Vereniz, I am working to get my cookbook ready as fast as I can... I'll let you know as soon as it's finished! Thanks for asking about it!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from vereniz | May 27, 2011 3:28 PM

Hola. I love the simplicity, and authenticity. Your show on "Create" channel stopped me in my tracks, and it makes me want to go back to Oaxaca!
Best of Luck with your show!

chuck (don carlos) de florida | July 6, 2011 9:15 PM

I made the tomatillo mermelada and it was so good!
Thank you for sharing it. I look forward to watching your shows and continue making more food.

Rosibel | July 12, 2011 8:53 PM

Hola Chuck, I'm so happy you have enjoyed the show! I promise more good things to come!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from chuck (don carlos) de florida | July 13, 2011 5:57 PM

I have been lurking here trying to decide which dishes to try. They all look sooooo delicious! I'm married to a wonderful hispanic man (dad & grandparents are from Mexico, but he was born in the U.S.) and I love to try and cook Mexican food for him. Your website has helped me so much! Thank you for sharing your recipes with us! It's such a joy to learn from you!

Emerald | July 27, 2011 4:04 PM

Hola Emerald, I know I am biased, but I think many of the dishes are tasty! I so hope you continue to enjoy the website and the recipes provided. There are so many flavors and textures to explore with Mexican cooking. I truly thank you for your support!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Emerald | July 27, 2011 4:15 PM

Dear Pati,

I love your show and the recipes that you present on PBS. Looking
forward to your book and your email news.


Lucille | July 30, 2011 4:16 PM

Hola Pati; I continue to watch your show and enjoy your way of making something I would have thought so complex so easy. The use of the fresh ingredients makes my mouth water. Tonight we are having your Street Corn. I can't hardly wait. I love the guacamole recipe and to be honest I love all the dishes you cook. Today aired the show about the Mexican Revolution and the Cowboys and their food. My DH can't wait for me to make some of the dishes. I have grown to love this food more the Tex-Mex style but you bring it all together in your show. Thanks so much for your wonderful presentations. When you get that recipe for the Semita de Neuz I would absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It is one of my obsession foods. So the sooner the better. Again thanks so much for your wonderful recipes and your presentations they are both a joy to watch and delicious to make.

Lynda | August 4, 2011 8:22 AM

Lynda, Your comments made my day! You are incredibly sweet and generous with your words! Did you get a chance to make the street corn? It is one of my favorites, and for m e it always brings back warm memories of my home. I'd love to hear how it went! Keep cooking. One of my favorite parts of cooking is stumbling upon a new dish, or flavor that you realize you adore. It is always a treat when that happens. I hope you continue to enjoy each and every dish. I will do my best to get more delicious recipes your way :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Lynda | August 12, 2011 10:43 AM

My husband and I love your show, i tried one of your recipe and my husband loved it. Can wait for your cook book. You are wonderful in the kitchen, congratulations!

Emma | August 14, 2011 11:23 PM

Hi Pati,

I absolutely love your recipes and show! You have opened up my desire to cook more authentic mexican food via your recipes and will in the future purchase your cookbook/s. Thank you for your attention and opening up this avenue for all of cooks who desire to increase our desire to cook new foods. You are absolutely fabulous. Don't ever stop airing and cooking and teaching us how to cook the foods that You LOVE!!!



Terri | August 30, 2011 1:22 PM

thanks for the recipe.. I have been looking for an enchilada recipe that I prove to my husband (mexican) that i can cook him out of the kitchen.. can't let him win this won...

emma cardenas | August 31, 2011 7:26 PM


TRISH replied to comment from Kara Kirk | September 30, 2011 5:02 PM

Hi Pati,

We just finished watching your show for the first time and absolutely loved your cooking style and passion. We are looking forward to cooking your Chicken with Chipotle and Piloncillo tomorrow, Sunday. Do you by chance plan to include a Capirotada recipe or caldo de fideo recipe on a future show? Both are food comforts from our childhoods. We look forward to watching many more of your tv shows. Gracias, Elvia.

Elvia | October 1, 2011 8:57 PM

Hola Elvia, Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I love receiving requests and will look into featuring these two recipes in upcoming seasons. :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Elvia | October 3, 2011 11:26 AM


I lived in Southern California for many years and fell in love with traditional Mexican cuisine. Moving back to the Northeast has made finding traditionally prepared dishes a challenge so I've been learning to do it myself.

But, seeing your show for the first time yesterday, I was blown away. Went right out and got a big bag of tomatillos!

The show is great and I can't wait to catch it again. Website is awesome. I'll be in line for your cookbook with all the others commenting here.

Thank YOU!!

Drew Olsen | October 9, 2011 2:51 PM

Hola pati, These enchiladas verdes taste the best. Can you tell me why though the green sauce was alittle acidity>

beth | October 25, 2011 1:06 PM

Beth, it may have been the tomatillos themselves. Sometimes they are more acid than others. They tend to be less acid, when they are fully ripe and shinny green...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from beth | October 25, 2011 6:50 PM

Great show.
Best thing is - your recipes actually work!
I'm a light-weight when it comes to heat though, but I just substitute a pasilla or aneheim chili for serrano or jalapeno and it works great for me.
Thanks, and keep it going.

Michael Cowart | December 27, 2011 2:02 PM

Thanks and great idea Michael! I believe its best to adjust any recipe to your own liking and can use mine as an inspiration for your own creativity :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Michael Cowart | January 2, 2012 4:28 PM

Okay Pati. We have been patiently waiting. And now it is will your cookbook be out? Where to buy? We love you!

Lynnita | February 12, 2012 1:35 PM

Thank you so much Lynnita! The manuscript is finished, and publishing it is taking longer than I thought. The book is in production now and will be out early 2013. I will keep you posted!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Lynnita | February 13, 2012 2:45 PM