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Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Updated: Dec 16, 2018

I love my pressure cooker (some people use an Instapot, it is the same thing) because it makes short work of dinner, including my all-time favorite homemade enchiladas. It simultaneously delivers tender chicken and an intensely flavored sauce—just add the ingredients, and turn it on, no searing or pre-cooking of any kind required. After that, assembling and baking these delicious red chile chicken enchiladas is a snap. These taste supremely authentic, and I often gift the leftover sauce to a friend so they can replicate the enchiladas by simply picking up a rotisserie chicken, cheese and tortillas.

Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas

These are a little too spicy for my kids. When I shred the chicken, I use that to make a quesadilla for them before I mix the sauce back in. While I typically do not enjoy leftovers, I love these for lunch the next day. Pictured above are my four enchiladas made with corn tortillas. This recipe will make enough for an entire 9x13 baking dish full. I purposefully kept back enough chicken and sauce for myself but didn't save enough cheese, which is why it looks skimpy in the pic. No worries, these taste awesome! Enjoy.


2 whole dried ancho chilies

2 pounds chicken (I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs)

1 Serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and roughly chopped

1 pound Roma tomatoes, quartered (about 4)

1 yellow onion, quartered

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 whole canned chipotle chilies packed in adobo, plus 2 tablespoons of sauce from the can

2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock (I use Better than Bouillon paste mixed with water)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

12 fresh tortillas (I make half with flour and half with corn to appease everyone in my family)

8 ounces grated Jack or cheddar cheese

4 ounces crumbled cotija cheese (optional)

For the chicken and sauce

Using kitchen shears, trim the tops of chilies and discard seeds, then cut into one-inch pieces. Place pieces on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power until pliable and fragrant, about 15 seconds.

In the bowl of your pressure cooker combine chilies, chicken, jalapeño, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, coriander, and chicken stock. Season with a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Seal pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release pressure using quick-release method. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a sheet pan and set aside to cool.

Add soy sauce and lime juice. Using a stick blender, blend the ingredients into a pureed smooth sauce. Taste and season with salt if needed and stir in 3 tablespoons of cilantro.

When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred meat with your fingers or two forks. Fold in 1/4 cup of sauce.

If using corn tortillas

If using corn tortillas, heat 1/4 cup of canola oil in a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working one at a time, place a tortilla in the oil, fry for 5 seconds, turn, and fry the second side for 5 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then to a second clean plate. Stack tortillas as you work and cover with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel when finished to keep tortillas warm. Dip tortillas in sauce one at a time, letting excess drip off and stacking them as you go.

Assemble the enchiladas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Ladle one cup of sauce over the base of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of chicken filling in a line along the center of one tortilla, add a pinch of cheese. Roll tortilla up like a cigar and transfer to the baking dish, seam-side-down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spoon more sauce over the top of the tortillas, then spread cheddar or Jack cheese in two even rows across the center of the tortillas. Spoon a few more tablespoons of sauce on top of the cheese. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with half of the cotija cheese, and continue cooking until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Remove baking dish from oven, sprinkle with remaining cotija cheese and chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

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