Chicken Enchiladas with Spinach, Mushrooms and Tomatillo Cream Sauce

Enchiladas with Tomatillo  Salsa, Cooking On The Ranch

I don’t think Red Sauce should have the corner on the Enchilada market…do you? Nor should that melted creamy ooey-gooey cheesy filling for that matter. (Did I just type that out loud?) For this recipe the combination starts with a savory chicken and mushroom filling and finishes with a fresh tomatillo cream sauce jazzed with Hatch Green Chile and cilantro.

Enchiladas have a casual reputation but in reality are a bit time consuming to put together. Preparing the filling and making the sauce isn’t usually one of those thirty minute and on the table meals. But who doesn’t love the texture of a warm corn tortilla with a savory filling and topped with an exciting sauce? Normally I would finish the tortillas and snuggle them in a baking dish to bake in the oven. But this recipe cuts some time off the process by simply dipping the tortillas in the warm sauce and quickly filling with a hot chicken and mushroom mixture. For the cheese no melting is required, as you simply sprinkle with Cotija to finish. This meal started from a Rick Bayless recipe and ended with my own twists. Because the enchiladas aren’t baked, Rick suggests using pre-warmed plates to insure a warm entrée. Let’s take a look.

Cotija Cheese for Enchiladas, Cooking On the Ranch

The Tomatillo Sauce is easy to throw together. With fresh husked tomatillas, garlic and Hatch Chiles, your food processor makes for quick work.

Tomatillo Salsa, Cooking On The Ranch

Put in the whole garlic, one clove at a time, making sure each clove is chopped before adding the next, then add the quartered tomatillos.

Tomatillo and Chili Sauce, Cooking On the Ranch

Top with whole roasted Hatch Chile. These chiles are from freezer stash from last Fall. I simply defrosted them enough so I could separate the chiles, chop the tops off and remove most of the seeds and rub off some of the charred roasted skin. Remember, never rinse the chiles under water to remove the skin as you wash away the smoky flavor. I also like to leave a little bit of the charred skin on.

Tomatillo Sauce, Cooking on the Ranch

Put the lid on, push that button and within a minute you’ve got a beautiful salsa.

Chamayo Chile Powder, Cooking on the Ranch

I’ve made this salsa many times and to add more flavor I’ve used a teaspoon of earthy Chamayo chile powder.

Ancho Chile powder

Or if I’m feeling brave, some hot Ancho chile powder.

chicken breast

In the meantime, roast chicken breasts that have simply been seasoned with salt and pepper. When cool, remove them to a cutting board and cube into small bites. Or, if you prefer, shred the meat.

Tomatillo Cream Sauce

To turn that salsa into a cream sauce, simply pour it into a sauce pan and heat it over medium heat, stirring until nice and bubbly and reduce until it’s the consistency of a tomato sauce. The more you cook the sauce, the richer and sweeter it will be. Then add chicken broth to blend the flavors.

chicken enchiladas

While the sauce is simmering, heat oil in a sauce pan add the mushrooms. You’ll cook the mushrooms until they begin to brown. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add spinach and chicken and cook until the spinach has wilted.

chicken and spinach enchiladas

Back to the tomatillo sauce, you’ll add Mexican crema and then keep the sauce warm on low heat. Give warmed tortillas a good dip in the sauce, fill them with the chicken and mushroom filling and arrange on a warmed plate and top with more sauce, onion and cilantro. Sprinkle on the salty Cotija and you’re in for a real treat.

A different and unique enchilada recipe that you’ll find exciting in a delicious and fresh sort of way.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce, Spinach and Mushrooms
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 whole roasted Hatch green chile, tops cut off, skin and seeds removed
  • 10 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters
  • ½ - 1 t. New Mexico chile powder such as Chamayo or Ancho
  • ¾ C. rough chopped cilantro
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 C. chicken broth
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 large red onion, thin sliced
  • 10 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1 C. cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • Salt to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 T. Mexican crema
  • ½ t. sugar
  • 1 C. Mexican crumbling cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor chop the garlic one piece at a time. Add the tomatillos, cilantro and chiles and process until smooth.
  2. Heat the 1½ tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the puree and cook stirring nearly constantly until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick tomato sauce. About 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer over medium heat for another 10 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown. Add about three quarters of the onion and reserve the rest for garnish. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion looks translucent. Add the spinach and chicken and cook for a minute or so, until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet and brush lightly on both sides with olive oil. Stack them in twos and slide them into the over an bake just long enough to where they are soft. About 3 minutes. Remove from oven and stack them in a single pile and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
  5. Stir the creme into the tomatillo same. Taste and season with salt and sugar. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the sauce onto a warmed plate. Hold a tortilla by one edge and dip most of it into the sauce and lay it on the plate. Spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons of the filling down the center, roll up and positioning the enchilada seam side down. We did two enchiladas per plate. Douse the enchiladas with ¼ cup of the warm sauce and sprinkle with crumbled cheese, sliced onion and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Chicken Enchiladas with Spinach Mushrooms and Tomatillo Cream Sauce…It’s what’s for Dinner.

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  1. says

    That sauce sounds incredible! What a great combination of flavors. I always grow tomatillos but don’t know how to use them up – I am heading for the freezer to see if there are still some lurking around from last summer.
    P.S. Really love the new look around here! :)
    Vickie recently posted…Grilled Shrimp on Fennel and ArugulaMy Profile

  2. says

    Well, my husband went to Whole Foods to get all the fixings for enchiladas today and then I see your email in my inbox! Must be enchilada day. I like the tomatillo sauce and the sour cream ones too but my kids prefer the tomato chilli based so I have to make those most of the time.
    These look fab though! Unfortunately, I’ll be dipping and nestling a bit later! The no bake version sounds like a big time saver! I guess I’d better get to work.
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted…Blood Orange Upside Down CakeMy Profile

  3. says

    “I don’t think Red Sauce should have the corner on the Enchilada market…do you? ” – absolutely not and I really like the shortcut idea of dipping the tortillas. Your dish looks delicious.
    Larry recently posted…Blogger Party 2014My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Roz. And I find it hard to believe that you’re inept at anything in the kitchen. You’re such a talented cook. And thanks for the kudos on the design. It still need tweaking.


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