White Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
If you asked me to pick my absolute favorite Mexican dish, it would be enchiladas. Hands down. Enchiladas all the day long. And when it comes to enchiladas, I tend to be really boring. I almost always go for plain cheese enchiladas. Some might find this boring, but it’s kind of like ice cream, sometimes you just gotta have vanilla.
And although vanilla ice cream is always perfect, sometimes you have to have something a little more exciting. I had this craving for white chicken enchiladas last week. One of my issues with white sauces of any kind though is that they can be too heavy without much flavor and that’s no good. I was pretty happy with this sauce. Although the sauce is nice and creamy, it’s not super heavy and gets added flavor from spices and some heat and texture from diced green chilis. The chicken mixture is also pretty light and I threw in some fresh spinach for good measure because, well, now you can say you also had vegetables with your dinner. You know me, always looking out for you guys.
My husband didn’t love these as much as I did, but in my defense, he doesn’t like onions or chilis, so I made his a little differently and I don’t think his had as much flavor or texture as mine did. And actually, these are a great make ahead meal because I thought they were even more delicious the next day when I ate them for lunch!
White Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
For the enchiladas and filling:
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow or white onion, diced
- 2 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
- 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
- 1/4 cup fat free half and half
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (or monterey jack or cheddar), divided
- 8-10 small four tortillas
- fresh cilantro, for garnish
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups chicken broth or stock (can add up to 4 cups if desired)
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 small can (about 4.5 ounces) diced green chilis, drained
- salt to taste
- Add the spinach to a skillet along with a tablespoon of water and heat over medium high heat. Saute until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
- To make the chicken, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the shredded chicken to the pan along with the taco seasoning. Stir so that the chicken is coated in the seasoning. Pour in the half and half. Continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed, another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Remove the chicken mixture from the heat.
- To prepare the white sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir in with the oil. Allow for the flour to cook for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and whisk until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the sour cream and continue whisking until it is combined with the broth. If the sauce gets too thick for your liking, pour in a little more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Lastly, stir in the cumin, paprika, and green chilis. Season with salt to taste. Lower the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes. Cover and remove from the heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9×13 baking dish, spoon some of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish so it is well-coated (if you are trying to make up to 10 enchiladas, you can use another baking dish if necessary). Take one tortilla, place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken and spinach filling and place down the middle. Take about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and sprinkle some over the chicken mixture. Roll the tortilla up nice and tight and place seam-side down into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Spoon more of the sauce over all of the rolled enchiladas. Make sure they are completely covered by the sauce to prevent them from drying out while baking. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until bubbly. Garnish with cilantro.