Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Enchiladas are a favorite winter meal around here. I love the combination of flavors—the little bit of spice from the enchilada sauce is balanced nicely with the creamy chicken and spinach filling.
I used to buy canned enchilada sauce, but then I realized it isn't really that hard to make your own. I vastly prefer the homemade version and pretty much make it exclusively now. If you get it going first, it should be done by the time you are ready to fill your tortillas and put everything together.
Another tip I learned about making enchiladas—add some enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan before adding the tortillas. This will help prevent the tortillas from sticking, and I think it helps a lot with getting the sauce flavor more integrated into the enchiladas. I usually add enough to lightly coat the whole bottom of the pan.
Cheesy Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Ingredients for the Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 of a yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/2 cup chile powder
2 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Enchiladas
3 tablespoons butter
2–3 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese—I usually use Colby Jack or Cheddar depending on what I have
8 flour tortillas, small diameter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium sauce pan, make a batch of the enchilada sauce—Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it begins to soften (about 5 minutes). Stir in the garlic and continue cooking until the onion is translucent and soft (about 2 minutes more). Stir in the chile powder, and then add the broth, water, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes so it can thicken. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and add the chicken cubes. When the chicken cubes are mostly done, add the onion and garlic. Cook for several minutes until onion/garlic mixture is fragrant and chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken, onion, and garlic mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet that you just used for the chicken, add the last tablespoon of butter and the frozen spinach. Let cook over medium heat until it is completely defrosted and broken apart.
Add the spinach to the bowl with the chicken, onion, and garlic. Stir in the ricotta cheese, sour cream, and cheese. Mix until well combined.
In the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish, add a thin layer of enchilada sauce. Assemble your enchiladas one by one by spooning the filling into the center of the tortilla, rolling it up, and placing it seam side down in the dish.
Pour additional enchilada sauce over the top of each enchilada in the pan. I like to add quite a bit of the sauce so that it pools around the enchiladas. It thickens as it cooks and also gets slightly absorbed into each enchilada. Then, sprinkle the top of each enchilada with some additional cheese.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted.
Serve hot out of the oven. Top with cilantro and avocado as desired.