Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kale & Spinach Chicken Enchiladas

I recently asked my followers on Facebook what recipes they would like to see healthier, and chicken  enchiladas were the very first response, from Pat Houselog Stiller. I happen to really love chicken enchiladas and my favorite version is called enchiladas suizas or Swiss style enchiladas. These are served with a creamy sauce that is very easy to make and very easy to "jazz" up. I love to add lots of fresh, in season greens to my sauce which bumps up the nutrition and no one ever suspects that is what makes it so good! The greens turn the sauce a beautiful sage green color and it tastes amazing. For this version I chose to use kale and spinach, both are in season and lots of varieties are available at my farmers market. I chose Tuscan kale and baby spinach which have different qualities. The kale is hearty and very earthy, I used it both raw and sauteed in the sauce. The spinach is choc full of nutrients and has a sweeter flavor and definitely much softer so you can just throw it in the sauce raw, with no problem. I usually use leftover chicken when I make enchiladas because I prefer chicken from the bone and I like to use both breast and thigh when I make it. I either buy a rotisserie chicken or make a baked one at home (if its not hot outside). This recipe is great to make ahead and freeze to bake off on a night when you don't feel like cooking.  You can also cook it all and freeze it for your lunches all week, its such a versatile and hearty recipe. Enchiladas are, in my opinion, the ultimate Mexican comfort food and there is no reason they have to be bland or unhealthy! 

This recipe makes 16 enchiladas or 8 servings, I serve two per person. 


1 (4oz) Can organic green chiles, mine were hot and diced.
1/2 Cup organic, raw, baby spinach leaves, I just use a big bunch I don't really measure.
1/2 Cup organic, raw Tuscan kale leaves, leaves only, again just a big bunch.
2 Cups pasture raised whole milk
2 Cups homemade chicken broth, or organic store bought.
5 Tbsp pasture raised butter
1/2 Cup unbleached, organic, all purpose flour
2 Organic garlic cloves, minced or grated.
Another 1/2 Cup organic, raw Tuscan kale leaves, chopped.
1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil, for sauteing kale and garlic.
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste.
About 3 cups chicken, shredded, I use leftover and use both breast and thigh.
16 (2 packages) corn tortillas, I use La Tortilla Factory handmade style corn tortillas.
1 Cup pasture raised cheddar cheese, shredded, I used Cabot.
1 Pint organic cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Garnishes, optional

Pasture raised sour cream, I use Cabot.
Organic scallions, whites only, chopped.
Organic cherry tomatoes, chopped in half, I reserve some from the pint above.
1 Avocado, sliced.
Hot sauce, I like Jojo's siracha.


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a blender put the chiles, spinach, 1/2 cup kale and pulse to chop. 

In a saute pan heat the tsp of olive oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, add the other 1/2 cup of kale, salt and pepper. Continue sauteing till the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a sauce pan heat the milk and chicken stock, do not boil. 

In another sauce pan heat the butter over medium heat till melted. Add the flour and stir and cook for another minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken stock mixture and continue whisking till it starts to bubble and thicken, about 2 minutes. Cook for 3 additional minutes, then add in the sauteed kale and garlic, stir to combine and remove from heat. Add half of this mixture to the blender with the spinach and kale. Remove the center part of your blender lid and place a kitchen towel over it, to allow the steam to escape. Blend this mixture till it is smooth. Add this back into the pot with the unblended mixture and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper, as needed.
Mix 1 cup of the creamy sauce with the shredded chicken, and stir to coat the chicken. Add in a 1/2 cup of your cheddar cheese and half the cherry tomatoes to this mixture, stir to combine well. 

In a damp, clean kitchen towel microwave the tortillas for 2 minutes or until they are warm and pliable. 

Spread some of your spinach, kale mixture over the bottom of a large baking dish, just a thin layer so that your tortillas don't stick.

Spoon in some of the chicken mixture into each tortilla, about 1/4 cup for each. Roll them up and place them seam side down into the baking dish, packing them in tight so that they don't unroll. Cover with the remaining sauce, making sure to get all edges of the tortillas so they don't burn. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the enchiladas. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the sauce is hot and bubbling. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

To serve, scoop out 2 enchiladas, top with sour cream, scallions, tomatoes and hot sauce. I like to serve the avocado slices on the side. I hope you enjoy my absolute favorite, Mexican comfort food! 

Buen Provecho! 

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