Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicken & Spinach Enchilada with Salsa Verde

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas...with cute doggie Humphrey supervising in the background!
Chicken & Spinach Enchilada with Salsa Verde
I first made this recipe about 20 years ago as a sneaky way to get spinach into my kids AND husband.  The sneak approach worked beautifully – so much so that they would beg for the enchiladas and request to eat the filling alone!  Since that time, I have modified it quite a bit to decrease the calories and fat – but it is still fantastic.

I love the tangy flavor of salsa verde. The green color comes from the use of tomatillos.  The addition of lime juice & jalapeno pepper create the zesty flavors. Tomatillos are in most grocery stores – small green tomatoes with thin inedible paper-like husk formed by the calyx.  As the fruit, (yes, tomatoes are fruits),  grows and expands, it breaks this husk.  A tomatillo at peak should be bright green & firm and the husk broken.  It is easy to pull the husk off – toss it – the remaining tomatillo will likely have a sappy sticky coating that is easily removed with water (see pic).
Husking the tomatillos
Remove the husks of 1 lb of tomatillos – put into a pot, cover with water and boil 10 minutes. Cut open 1-2 jalapenos removing the stems, ribs and seeds.  Be very careful – work in a well ventilated area, wear gloves and do not touch anything else, especially your face, until you have thoroughly washed your hands. Using a food processor- process 4 cloves garlic, then add jalapenos, 1 coarsely chopped onion and cooked tomatillos.  Pulse several times to mince.  Put into a bowl, add salt & pepper, ½ Tb sugar, 1-2 chopped red tomatoes & ½ C chopped fresh cilantro.  Stir and set aside. You have now made tomatillo salsa (see pic). Congrats!
Tomatilla salsa

Grate ¾ lb cheddar cheese and ¾ lb Monterey jack cheese.  I use light versions when they are available.  Mix and add ¼ C grated Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Take 2 cooked & boned chicken breasts – put into food processor. Pulse until finely minced. Put into a bowl. Alternatively you could thoroughly shred the chicken but it makes it harder to hide the spinach! Take 2-3 bunches of cleaned spinach, wash, and cooked – and squeeze dry in paper towels – Pulse in processor and add to chicken. (alternatively could use frozen and thawed chopped spinach – still needs to be squeezed dry) Add spinach to chicken. Add 2 C light sour cream, 1 bunch chopped green onions, 1 C of the tomatillo salsa and 2 C of the cheese mixture. This is the filling for your enchiladas (see pic).
Enchilada filling with chicken and spinach
You can use corn or flour tortilla – white or whole wheat.  If you choose corn – you will need to fry it lightly in corn oil to soften the tortilla before assembly.  You will need about 12 medium tortillas.

Assembly: Put about 1 C salsa in the bottom of a 10 x 12 x 2” baking dish- spread to cover the bottom. Place about 6 Tb of the meat mixture into a tortilla. Carefully roll and place seam side down into dish.  Continue until you have filled all 12 tortillas.  Pour remaining salsa over the top and top with remaining cheese.  Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 min – or lightly browned on top.
Filling the tortilla
I love serving this with Black Beans (see blog for Black Beans with Garlic, Cumin & Cilantro) and a green salad.  A Beer or Margarita would be a great addition as well.  

-- Larue


  1. I made this last night with the black beans for my grandson, hubby, and son. It was delicious and I even got my extremely picky grandson to eat most of one.
    Thanks, and keep them coming Larue!

  2. So glad you liked it and super happy you gave it a try!! More to come..... I think you will find most easy and delish!