Chicken enchiladas topped with a salsa verde (made in the slow cooker!), Monterey jack cheese, and a simple cilantro-lime sour cream sauce. Make them up to a day in advance or bake them right away for a cozy, comforting dinner.
I have a love/hate relationship with my slow cooker. Those who’ve been following for a while might remember a post a couple years back in which I declared my intention to use my slow cooker more. Good things came from that declaration: French onion soup, savory short rib sliders, and shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches. But sometime last January I stopped using the slow cooker and, until a few weeks ago, it’d been almost a year since I pulled that beast out of the cabinet.
I guess it was a craving for chicken enchiladas that broke the spell. Enchiladas made without a slow cooker are a cumbersome time-sucking endeavor that leaves your kitchen a giant mess and your spirit potentially broken if you entertain the idea that maybe the effort wasn’t worth all the work. At least, that’s how I feel about making enchiladas that don’t have some serious short-cuts. So, when the craving struck I turned to the slow cooker to make it happen.
How to Make Slow Cooker Salsa Verde
I’m normally not a fan of “dump and stir” slow cooker recipes where the ingredients are just tossed in without any pre-work to develop flavor, like browning the vegetables and meat first. But, as they say, never say never because in the case of the filling for the enchiladas there aren’t any required pre-steps before the slow cooker steps. All you have to do is roughly chop the veggies and toss them right in the slow cooker. Here’s what you need:
- Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes with papery husks. Remove the husks and give them a good rinse to remove the sticky residue on their skin. Halve or quarter them, depending on how big they are, and toss them in the slow cooker.
- Poblano peppers look like skinny bell peppers and they’re not super spicy. Prep them like you would a bell pepper and cut them into chunks and into the slow cooker they go.
- For some heat, I added two jalapeno peppers to the mix. If you’re not into heat, only add one.
- Quarter one yellow onion and add that to the slow cooker, too.
- Toss in some roughly chopped garlic and that’s it for the veggies.
Once the veggies for the salsa verde in the slow cooker, lay the boneless skinless chicken breasts on top of them. You don’t need to brown them first, just make sure to season them with salt and pepper. Cook it all on high for 3-4 hours or until the chicken easily shreds with a fork. Remove the chicken and all you have to do to finish the salsa is add some cilantro and lime juice and puree it all until it’s smooth. I like to use an immersion blender for this step, but you can transfer the cooked vegetables plus all the juices to a stand blender and puree it that way, too.
Assemble the Chicken Enchiladas
Shred the chicken and roll it up in tortillas. I didn’t feel the need to add anything because the chicken was infused with all the flavors from the peppers, tomatillos, onion, and garlic. Once the tortillas are in the baking dish pour the salsa verde all over the top. Add some shredded cheese and that’s it!
At this point, you can pop the enchiladas in the fridge to bake later (you can chill them for up to a day in advance) or pop them into a hot oven for thirty minutes. I like to garnish them with more fresh cilantro, some raw red onion, and a simple sour cream sauce the details of which are in the recipe below.
You know how great it is to reunite with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while? That’s what it was like reuniting with my slow cooker for these chicken enchiladas. And like old friends do, we’ve already promised we won’t let so much time go by without seeing each other again. This reunion was a big success.
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Chicken enchiladas topped with a flavorful salsa verde, Monterey jack cheese, and a simple cilantro-lime sour cream sauce. The salsa and chicken cook in the slow cooker until the chicken breasts are falling-apart tender and once the enchiladas are assembled you can bake them right away or keep them in the refrigerator for up to a day.
For the Enchiladas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed, rinsed, and quartered
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 large poblano pepper (about 5-6 ounces), seeded and roughly chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
- 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
For the Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream Sauce
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp chopped cilantro
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, poblano pepper, garlic, and salt in an even layer in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the chicken in an even layer on top. Cover and cook on low for three to four hours or until the chicken easily shreds with a fork.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Add the cilantro leaves and lime juice to the slow cooker and, using an immersion blender, puree the salsa until smooth. If the salsa is too thick, thin it with some chicken stock or water. Ladle a cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
- Divide the chicken between the flour tortillas, roll them up, and place them in the baking dish. Pour the salsa over the top of the tortillas. Top with the shredded cheese. At this point, you can cover and keep the enchiladas in the refrigerator for up to a day before baking.
- To bake, cover the baking dish with tin foil. Bake the enchiladas at 350 degrees for thirty minutes, or until they are bubbly hot. If you are baking them cold, you may need to add ten minutes to the bake time.
- While the enchiladas are baking make the sour cream sauce by combining the sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a small bowl. To serve, drizzle the sour cream sauce over the top of the enchiladas and garnish with diced red onion and chopped cilantro.
- Serving Size: 2 enchiladas
- Calories: 805
- Fat: 37.4g
- Carbohydrates: 67.7g
- Fiber: 4.1g
- Protein: 50.9g