Chicken Enchiladas or Enchiladas Suiza?
My family always called this recipe chicken enchiladas but when serving it one day a friend told me it was called enchiladas suiza. Huh? I have no idea how the name Enchiladas Suiza came about. I know I could Google it, but I’m good with this being a mystery in my life (there’s not enough of those anyway). Plus, I think Suiza means Swiss, so how did anyone think the Swiss made enchiladas? Is this some sort of old-timey fusion meal?
Anyway, I don’t know and truly, I don’t care. I’ve messed with this recipe long enough to know that I just love it. Maybe the Suiza just means cheesier and creamier? One of my best friends, who is Mexican, constantly is dismayed by the amount of cheese American’s put on their “Mexican” food. So, maybe the Swiss do to? I also think Suiza is supposed to include tomatoes and onions. But, over the years I’ve found I like tomatillos better; onions optional. Whatever, my family loves it so call it whatever makes you happy. We go with Chicken Enchiladas.
Substitutions for Chicken Enchilada recipe
Let’s talk a few minutes about substitutions in this chicken enchiladas recipe.
- Bone-in, skinless chicken breasts – go with what you have available. Skin on is fine it’s just usually a bit more grease in the reserved liquid. Make sure you remove the skin before shredding. Also, boneless is fine. Cook about 5 minutes less. I prefer the flavor of bone-in, plus more minerals are absorbed.
- Tomatillos – if these aren’t available you can use tomatoes. Personally, I don’t think it has the same great flavor but it does work.
- Onions – if you’re an onion lover, chop some up and cook with the tomatillos and chiles. I’ve also waited and added chopped onions at the blender level. Both are good and gives a wonderful savory addition. In the final product I liked the focus on the tomatillos so I left the onions out.
- Chilies – really you can use any chili that has a bit of a kick. Choose your chili based on how much kick you’d like. In the mild realm, I’ve used anaheim, poblano, and ancho with great success. Overall ancho is my favorite for a mild sauce. In the moderate realm, I’ve used jalapeno and serrano with great success. Overall serrano is my favorite for a medium sauce. Obviously you can go hotter but be careful not to overpower the flavor of the tomatillos with just heat.
- Oil – chicken enchiladas don’t require any particular oil for cooking the tomatillo-chili mix down. I like the depth of flavor or ghee; it adds a real richness. But, any neutral flavor, higher heat oil will work fine with this recipe so don’t go purchase anything special. Just don’t use a high flavor oil like peanut or toasted sesame; stick with the neutrals.
- Diary – since chicken enchiladas, or suiza here, includes cheese you probably don’t need a dairy alternative but if you do, anything with the consistency of Greek yogurt of sour cream will work great. Personally, my family has come to like the richness of sour cream over yogurt but if rich flavors aren’t your thing than go with yogurt.
And Now . . . The Recipe
Chicken Enchilada Ingredients:
- 1 ½ pound bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked
- 2 ancho or serrano chilies
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or ghee
- ¼ cup yogurt, non-dairy yogurt, or sour cream
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 ½ oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- Place chicken in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by at least one inch. Add 1 tsp salt, 2 of the garlic cloves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer; cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken from liquid. Once cooled enough to touch, pull meat from bones and shred; set aside.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. While chicken cooks, place tomatillos and chiles in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and boil over medium heat about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup liquid. Transfer tomatillos and chiles to a blender. Add cilantro and remaining 2 cloves of garlic; blend until smooth. Add reserved liquid if necessary.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo-chile puree; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring constantly or until sauces reduces to about one cup (about 10 minutes).
- Reduce heat, add yogurt or sour cream and remaining 1 tsp salt. Stir for one minute; set aside.
- Place tortillas on racks in oven and warm for 1-2 minutes until pliable but not stiff. Wrap in cloth towel to keep warm while assembling enchiladas.
- Spread 1/3 of the sauce in a 9” baking dish.
- Divide shredded chicken evenly among tortillas and roll up. Arrange each enchilada in a single layer in the baking dish, seam side down.
- Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake until the cheese starts to brown, about 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Make Ahead for Enchiladas
The sauce in this Chicken Enchiladas recipe is great for to make ahead so if you need something a bit faster, try my Enchilada Sauce. Use some store bought rotisserie chicken, left over chicken or even make the shredded chicken ahead. Through it all together the same way and dinner is served in about 45 minutes with only about 15 minutes of work that day.
As always I highly advocate Meal Planning. Learn how to plan with this link. It’s the key to success. I have no idea how I’d ever get food on the table around the whole family’s schedule if I didn’t know exactly what we’re having for dinner each night. So a little make ahead for the Chicken Enchiladas makes this a much faster and easier meal. Plus, unless you’re a big family there’s almost undoubtedly left over enchiladas for someone’s lunch.