Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

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I’ve mentioned before that my Grandma McGee – who we so lovingly called Mamoo – would make my sister and I a special birthday dinner every year when we were at Baylor. Laura’s never-fail choice was always Swiss Steak – not a bad choice, Laura. Mine changed between a couple choices, one of them being Mamoo’s Chicken Enchiladas.

I grew up in Weslaco where there was no shortage of enchiladas that I love.  But there was something so comforting about my grandma’s take on them – no rich meat sauce, chicken instead of the usual beef or plain cheese. She always boiled leg quarters to start and I couldn’t even tell you what her go-to sides were because the enchiladas definitely had my attention.

at baylor

In this current social distancing world, I’ve modified Mamoo’s original recipe just a bit to include things we had on-hand in our kitchen. This is a perfect one to try out for any weeknight meal – give it a shot and let me know what you think! From my kitchen to yours – consider it a hug from a very safe distance 😊


Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Let’s talk chicken.  You can use anything you like here – white meat, dark meat, tenders, a whole chicken, whatever works for you.  You can roast the chicken as I’m going to show you here, boil and pick a whole chicken or leg quarters as we have done before (see Tortilla Soup for an example), or go all-out easy and snag a rotisserie chicken from the store.  If you do start with the cooked chicken, just pick it and set the shredded meat aside.  You can then jump down to cooking the onions to start this recipe!

For our purposes here, we are using a couple chicken breasts so preheat then oven to 450.

Season the chicken on both sides with your desired seasoning and place in a baking dish or on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.  As I noted in the ingredients list, I’m a fan of the Fiesta Brand fajita seasonings.  We’ve been known to have multiple bottles of their fajita, taco and chili lime seasonings… but they get used for sure! Use whatever you like or whatever you have on hand to give the chicken a little flavor. When all else fails, a little salt, pepper, cumin and paprika would be great!

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Roast the chicken at 450 for 10-15 min, until chicken is cooked through.  If you have a cooking thermometer handy, it should read around 155.  Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest and cool a bit. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 – we’re gonna use it again later for the dish itself.

Pick or shred the chicken and set it aside.  A couple of forks always work well to shred chicken up nicely… but so do your hands!

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Saute the onions in a skillet with a little olive oil until they begin to soften, seasoning them with some salt and pepper.  You can jazz this up a little here if you like – add some bell pepper, poblano pepper, mushrooms, olives, or whatever sounds great to you in a chicken enchilada!  Mamoo’s original version typically had some green bell pepper strips added in here.

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Add about a third of the can of soup (just eyeball it, no need to be precise) and the shredded chicken to the onions. Stir it all together and cook for a few minutes until it is all warmed through and slightly thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

Mix the rest of the soup, sour cream and milk in a bowl.  Sometimes I add in a little extra black pepper or a shake of hot sauce here as well.

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Spread a couple tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, just to give it a little base. Set the rest of the sauce aside.

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Now, help yourself out a bit and set up a little assembly line.  We’re going to churn out some enchiladas and setting it all up in a row will make it a little easier for you!  From bottom-up we have the tortillas, the chicken mixture, the baking dish with a bottom layer of sauce, the remaining sauce and shredded cheese.

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To make the enchiladas, place a couple tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center of a tortilla and spread it out across the middle.  Add little more chicken if you need to.  Take the bottom half of the tortilla, cover the chicken then press the chicken down and roll the tortilla up, tucking the bottom of the tortilla into the roll.

Place the roll seam-side-down in the baking dish and continue to fill and roll the rest of the tortillas.

Pour the remaining sauce across the top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle any remaining chicken mixture across the top.  Or vice versa… I did that a little backwards this time 🤷‍♀️

Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the enchiladas. Go as light or heavy on the cheese as you wish!

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Bake at the enchiladas at 350 for 20-25 minutes, just until everything is warmed through.  Then broil the dish for a few minutes to brown the top of the cheese – because who doesn’t like browned cheese?!

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Let the dish sit a bit before you attempt to scoop some out on a plate – you’ll be glad you did!  Sprinkle some of that chopped cilantro on top for a little color… or skip it if you forgot you didn’t grab any on your last socially-distanced run to the grocery store.

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As pictured, these are Sadie-approved!  I’m sure Mamoo would approve as well 💕


Full Recipe

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

*If using rotisserie chicken, pick and shred the chicken, set it aside and skip the first two steps.

Season the chicken on both sides with your desired seasoning and place in a baking dish or on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.

Roast the chicken at 450 for 10-15 min, until chicken is cooked through (reading 155 on a cooking thermometer).

Reduce oven temp to 350.

Pick or shred the chicken and set it aside.

Saute the onions in a skillet with a little olive oil until they begin to soften, season with salt and pepper.

Add about a third of the can of soup and the shredded chicken to the pan, stir and cook a few minutes until warmed through and slightly thickened, remove from heat.

Mix the rest of the soup, sour cream and milk in a bowl.

Spread a couple tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, set the rest of the sauce aside.

Place a couple tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center of a tortilla and roll it up.

Place the tortilla seam-side-down in the baking dish and continue to fill and roll the tortillas.

Pour the remaining sauce across the top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle any remaining chicken mixture across the top.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the enchiladas.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until everything is warmed through.

Broil for a few minutes to brown the top of the cheese.

Enchiladas with Red Sauce

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A few years back, Will and I had the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration hosted by my chef-BFF, Pati Jinich.  I love her simple, classic style of cooking and have enjoyed cooking many of her recipes. They are full of great techniques and easy to follow.  She may or may not know that she is my BFF… but that’s beside the point.

Chef Pati demonstrated an entire menu from her cookbook, Mexican Today, and we got a signed copy of the book at the end.  Will and I have been through this cookbook several times, finding our favorites throughout. The To Die For Ceviche is, well, to die for. The Mango Pecan Tart will be in my kitchen soon. One of the true highlights though is the section devoted to sauces. We love to make enchiladas and we have played with a few of them.  We ultimately landed on this version of a traditional red sauce – you can stuff the enchilada with any filling and they are always delicious. While it may look complicated, it can all come together pretty quickly once you have the basic technique of creating a puree from dried peppers down.  As a bonus, any extra sauce freezes nicely for another use.  It’s been fun adapting such a tasty recipe to our kitchen!

I’d like to think my BFF would be proud.


Enchiladas with Red Sauce

  • 15 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Shredded cheese

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a hot skillet set over medium-low heat, toast the chiles.  You’re looking for the outer skin to crisp and blacken. 

Place the toasted peppers in a medium saucepan, cover with hot water and set over medium-high heat. Let them simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until they plump back up a bit.

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In the jar of a blender, place chiles along with 1 1/2 cups of their soaking liquid, the onion, garlic, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Side note: that soaking liquid also makes a great broth for a side dish of rice!

Puree until completely smooth.

Taste again for seasoning.

In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add a couple tablespoons oil. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chile sauce and quickly cover with a lid ajar, as the sauce will be jumping.  Be ready!  That sauce will jump and quickly splatter everywhere!

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Cook for 3-4 minutes, add the broth and cook a couple minutes more. Turn off the heat and keep covered.

Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with a thin layer of red sauce.

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In a skillet set over medium-heat heat, add a couple tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, “pass” the tortillas through the oil to soften them. You basically want to drag both sides of the tortillas through the hot oil until you see the tortillas start to bubble up just a bit. It should only take a few seconds. Don’t skip this step – if you try to roll the corn tortillas without softening them they will crack and tear as you stuff and roll them.

“Pass” the warmed tortillas through the red sauce to coat them.

Line the center of the tortillas with your choice filling and roll into enchiladas.  Tonight, we went with a beef filling – ground beef browned up with onions, peppers and pinto beans.  This red sauce would also be fantastic with shredded chicken or a straight cheese filling!

Line the rolled enchiladas in the prepared baking dish. Top with more sauce, any leftover filling, and cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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What filling will be in your version of Enchiladas with Red Sauce?


Full Recipe

Enchiladas with Red Sauce

  • 15 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In a hot skillet set over medium-low heat, toast the chiles until the skins are crisp and blackened.

Place the peppers in a medium saucepan, cover with hot water and set over medium-high heat.

Let them simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until they rehydrate, soften and plump up.

In the jar of a blender, place chiles along with 1 1/2 cups of their soaking liquid, the onion, garlic, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Puree until completely smooth.

Taste again for seasoning.

In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add a couple tablespoons oil.

Once hot, but not smoking, add the chile sauce and quickly cover with a lid ajar, as the sauce will be jumping.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, add the broth and cook a couple minutes more.

Turn off the heat and keep covered.

Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with a thin layer of red sauce.

In a skillet set over medium-heat heat, add a couple tablespoons oil.

When the oil is hot, pass the tortillas through the oil to soften them.

Pass the warmed tortillas through the red sauce to coat them.

Line the center of the tortillas with your choice filling and roll into enchiladas.

Top with more sauce, any leftover filling, and cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.