Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can The Canned Enchilada Sauce

I smoked a pair of chickens on the Big Green Egg this weekend to use for dinners this week. During the fall/winter, I find that I do a lot more of "batch cooking" on Sundays where I cook a lot of food for the rest of the week.

I won't repeat the whole detailed process but it's my standard smoked chicken technique. For my fellow BBQthusiasts, I used a mix of cherry and hickory chunks and smoked them for a little over 3 hours at 250f until they hit 180f in the thighs.

So far we have used them to make
  • chicken salad for lunch yesterday
  • chicken alfredo for dinner last night,
  • and tonight's enchiladas
You could use leftover rotisserie chicken for this recipe but I find that the smoked chicken just gives it that little extra oomph. (Oomph is American southern dialect for "je nais se quoi".)

But what really blew us away was the homemade enchilada sauce. So many recipes call for canned enchilada sauce. I can tell you after tonight, I will never crack a can of that stuff ever again. We adapted Alton Brown's enchilada sauce and it made all the difference in the world. It is rich and rocks the taste buds with a bit of heat on the way down.

Smoky Chicken & Bean Enchiladas

Sauce adapted from Alton Brown's Enchilada Lasagna
Enchilada recipe adapted from Southern Living

3-4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
2 ea chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and diced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz can tomato paste
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

3 cups smoked chicken, diced
1 15 oz can beans, rinsed and drained (I used Bush Brothers Mixed Beans but the original recipe called for black beans. Kidney beans work too.)
1 10 oz can rotel (tomatoes with chilies)
1 cup corn kernals
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 ea flour tortillas (8" size)
2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce

Cilantro, chopped
Green onions, chopped

Mix all of the enchilada sauce recipes in a sauce pan and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and reseason as needed with more salt and pepper. Cook another 15 minutes. This yielded about 3 cups of sauce when done.

Mix the chicken, beans, rotel, corn, and 1 1/2 cup of the cheeses in a large bowl. Place 1/8th of the mixture on each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a 9 x 13 baking dish. If you can't find a 9 x 13 baking dish, a 13 x9 will do. Well, it will work if it is a right handed 13 x 9 inch model. I'm not sure about those left handed 13 x 9 ones, I don't have any.

Top with the sauce and remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350f for 20 minutes.

Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Let rest 5 minutes, garnish with the cilantro and green onion, and serve.

This was ridiculously good. Alexis and I both agreed that the enchilada sauce was the best we have ever had. You won't find a canned enchilada sauce in our house again.

So do you start doing a lot more "cooking for the week" on weekends when the temperatures turn South for the winter?


  1. These enchiladas are killer and the sauce is "over the top"! Beautiful photos, too! Thanks for the great recipe! I love smoked meats and love to do batch cooking on the grill, too. It really makes cooking easier.

  2. Can I get an invite for dinner? I'm always up for mexican.

  3. wow...that looks smashing...:)



  4. And it looks ridiculously delish too! Since I don't have to work around one of those pesky jobs anymore ;) I do batch cooking when I get in the mood for it.

  5. Great looking enchiladas Chris. I'm not a fan of canned sauces either, so your homemade version sounds fantastic. And I love, love, love chicken left over to make into salads.

    You gave me reason to smile with your oomph definition. Tres cool.

  6. I spend my entire weekend cooking for the week. and yet, it still never seems to last the whole week through...and I end up eating sushi on Thursday and Friday. That's probably a not-so-subconscious tactic on my part just because I love sushi.

    These enchiladas look absolutely perfect! Love that you went with homemade sauce. Alton is a genius 99.9% of the time.

  7. YUM! I make a good home-made enchilada sauce, but your recipe looks amazing! It is so true that once you make your own sauce, you will never want to eat canned enchilada sauce again. I am definately going to make this!

    Kim in MD

  8. I don't make enchiladas very often, but when I did, I used a recipe I received from a friend of mine...it really never was all that great..it seemed to be missing something... I know what now: Chipotle!!!! :) I'm definitely going to have to try this sauce! mmmmmmm......

  9. I'd love to see a green sauce version

  10. Yum! This does sound like a great ench sauce! And the enchiladas themselves...oi! I am soooo craving some now. Saving this recipe :D

  11. I think you might have a man-crush on Alton. It's okay. The man knows sauce.

  12. I have to tell you, my husband makes delicious enchiladas and does indeed use canned sauce - but only one flavor of one brand and it's mostly red chiles. Also, he's a leftie and his enchilada pan is a left-handed model. Seems to work most of the time.
    This recipe looks and sounds so delicious, I'm going to attempt to talk him into moving from his comfort zone. Love the idea of using your smoked chicken!

  13. Oh my gosh, this looks delicious!!! I know what I'm having for supper. Off to the store...

  14. We are big fans of enchiladas and are always on the hunt for a super good sauce and it sounds like you have it - we'll give it a try.

  15. Can't wait to try these Chris. I'm guilty of using the canned stuff, just because I haven't found a homemade sauce that we really liked.
    Wish I could grab a plateful of these enchiladas through the screen as I'm suddenly very hungry!

  16. I am making this! Looks great. I love all the ingredients in the sauce.

  17. Doubtless this is far superior to a canned sauce (although my favorite one actually comes in a jar). If only I weren't so lazy.

  18. I do the Sunday afternoon batch cooking too. I have to if I want to eat all week.

    Great recipe.


  19. The thing with comfort food is it makes my clothes fit uncomfortably. ~Mary

  20. I have never tried making my own enchilada sauce, but you make it sound doable.

  21. I'm a Mexican food junkie:) I love that recipe....they look sooooo good!

  22. I refuse to read your blog any further until YOU do an entry on Fried Chicken.


  23. Can’t go wrong a smoky chicken with bean enchiladas - I desperately have an urge to a bite!

    All the best,


  24. First, I'm jealous again that you have a BGE, but that you can cook outside.
    Then I'm jealous of your smoked chicken.

    Then you take the awesome chicken and put it into something even more awesome. Jealous.

  25. That neat little row of enchiladas made my taste buds go crazy! I have made green enchilada sauce but never red - this is a 'must' do!

  26. I bet these are amazing! I have a green enchilada sauce recipe that knocks the socks off any canned variety. The best red enchilada sauce on the market, in my opinion, is Frontera Grill. I love how you define "oomph" :) It's ok, Yankees use that term, too :)

  27. Yum.... I'm your newest happy follower.

  28. And once again you've given me a recipe that will only help me into elastic-waist-pants faster...I'm destined to have them in my future, but at least I'll look the part when I start using words like Oomph! xo, Nan

  29. Looks completely delicious...can't go wrong with Alton :)

  30. Man friend, you are killing me with that photo of the sauce pouring onto the 'ladas! I want some, but will have to omit the sugar for my own diet purpose...love this! Now I am calling you Paco!

  31. Awesome - can't wait to try these! Do you have a homemade verde recipe anywhere?

  32. A wonderful recipe. I agree about canned sauce. Since I started making my own, I actually throw out several cans.

  33. Why are all of these comments from people who haven't actually attempted the recipe?

  34. Ah, comments need to be approved. How telling!

  35. Enchiladas should be made with corn tortillas and not flour if you really want them to be authentic!

    1. I agree and that's all we use now in any of our recent posts. I'll update this, thanks!


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