Sonora Enchiladas Recipe: How to Make Chicken Enchiladas – The Arizona Republic

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In Sonoran homes, enchiladas are not rolled or covered with cheese. It is a slow-cooked Colorado chile. How to make Sonoran enchiladas.

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Enchiladas in Sonora are not the stuffed, rolled tortillas covered in sauce and a layer of melted cheese that the first image may bring to mind.

Classic Sonoran enchiladas are made with a stack of corn tortillas, like small empanadas that can be made with a corn-based dough or a mixture of corn and potato, as it is done in many family recipes to give it texture and flavor. a lighter flavor, which are layered with shredded chicken dipped in chile colorado. From there, the enchiladas are topped with finely chopped lettuce or green cabbage, avocado, cilantro, radishes, and fresh Mexican cream for a wonderfully messy dish of simple individual elements that create a very elaborate whole.

how to make enchiladas

The simplicity of this dish means that each element must be treated delicately.

Cooked chicken can be made ahead of time, or even replaced with store-bought roast or shredded chicken without affecting the flavor of the meal being prepared. But be sure to make your own chile colorado, which is Sonora’s signature red chile sauce and forms the base of many classic dishes, including this one.

The longer the chicken simmers in the chile colorado, the better.

And on their own, the pancakes are a simple endeavor with a big payoff.

Recipe: Sonoran Enchiladas

Yield: 4 portions

Step 1: Make shredded chicken in chile colorado

Skip the first three steps if using pre-cooked chicken and broth. When it comes to making the chile colorado, the goal is to thicken the sauce enough to coat the back of a spoon, with only minimal dripping. But, if you want to omit the flour that is used as a thickening agent in this recipe, a tablespoon of maseca can be substituted or simply omitted, although the sauce may not thicken as much without it.

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For the shredded chicken:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh
  • ½ small white onion, peeled and cut in half
  • ½ head of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

For the red chile:

  • 2 ounces colorado chiles (Anaheim/California)
  • ½ small white onion, peeled and cut in half
  • ½ head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup strained chicken broth, or as needed


  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a slow boil. Carefully add chicken and cook over low heat, watching for foam on the surface and skimming off any foam that appears. After a few minutes, add the onion, garlic, oregano, and salt, cover loosely, and cook over low heat until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. The chicken should be allowed to cool in the broth. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken, but not too finely. Put it aside.
  3. To make the chile colorado, you must clean the chiles by removing the stem, seeds and large veins and wash them well under cold water.
  4. The chilies should be placed in a small pot along with the onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower and cook over low heat until the chiles soften, about 15 minutes. Once soft, strain and reserve the cooking liquid.
  5. Puree cooked ingredients with enough cooking liquid to keep blender blades moving, adding small amounts as needed. It should be tasted for seasoning, keeping in mind that the sauce will taste slightly metallic.
  6. To toast the flour, heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add the flour, stirring continuously until it reaches a light golden color. Add 1 cup of the reserved, strained chicken broth and whisk to combine.
  7. Once smooth, add the chile puree, beating well. Be sure not to burn the chile, as burning it develops a pungent flavor. It should be simmered for 5 minutes, adding broth as needed to maintain a pourable consistency.
  8. Once the chile colorado is glossy and thick, add the shredded chicken, stirring well to combine. The sauce should be able to cover the chicken well and not be too runny.
  9. Simmer the chicken in the sauce for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, adding broth as needed.
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Step 2: Make Potato and Corn Pancakes

The chicken in chile colorado can continue to simmer while these tortillas are being prepared. The longer the flavors have to meld, the better.


  • ½ pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped.
  • 2 cups of cornmeal (maseca)
  • 2 cups potato cooking liquid, top up with warm water as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Oil for frying, the necessary


  1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water, season lightly with salt, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and let cool slightly.
  2. The potatoes must be mashed, the cornmeal added and mixed to incorporate. Add enough potato cooking liquid to create a slightly sticky dough that can be easily shaped into a smooth ball (but don’t start making dumplings yet).
  3. It should be tasted for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary. Do not over mix as this can result in a gummy and starchy batter.
  4. Cover the dough with a slightly damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, giving time for the cornmeal to fully hydrate. If the dough feels too dry after standing, it should be mixed with a small amount of warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time. If it feels too wet, you have to mix with maseca, also 1 teaspoon at a time.
  5. Divide dough into 2-inch round portions, roll gently, and press into pancakes about ¼-inch thick. Do not stack raw pancakes as they will stick together.
  6. Heat ½ inch or so of oil over medium high heat. Fry the pancakes for about 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Keep the finished pancakes warm on a wire rack in a warm oven.
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Step 3: Serve the Sonoran enchiladas


  • Lettuce, shredded
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • A few radishes, sliced ​​thin
  • Avocado, diced
  • Homemade cream or Cacique cream


  1. Arrange the desired number of patties on a plate and top with a generous dollop of chicken. Drizzle with additional chile colorado sauce and top with shredded lettuce, cilantro, radishes, avocado and homemade cream as desired.

Translation Alfredo Garía

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