Freezer Chicken Enchiladas
Preparing enchiladas can be a multi-hour, labor-intensive endeavor. There’s the sauce to prep and the filling to cook, and finally, all the rolling. We wanted to find a way to streamline chicken enchiladas and make them freezable so that they could be prepared well ahead of time and stored at the ready. Here’s what we discovered:
Test Kitchen Discoveries
- Freeze the rolled enchiladas and sauce separately; otherwise they will turn into a mushy mess.
- Spray the tortillas with vegetable oil cooking spray and briefly heat them in the oven to make them pliant enough to roll easily.
- Bake the enchiladas while still frozen. We found that defrosting them actually leads to a dried-out texture once baked.
- Partially bake the enchiladas “naked,” or without sauce. A light coat of vegetable oil spray will keep the tortillas from drying out too much.
- For authentic flavor, puree and “fry” the sauce until the flavor and color has intensified. Most Mexican sauces are prepared in this fashion.
- Smoky chipotle chiles add both heat and a rich flavor to the sauce. These chiles, which are smoked jalapeños, come packed in a tomato-based adobo sauce. They are found in the Mexican foods section of most supermarkets.
Use leftover cooked chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken in this recipe. Note that you won’t need 1 1/2 cups of the cheese until you bake the enchiladas. Serve with avocado, pickled jalapeños, shredded lettuce, and/or sour cream.
- canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- ground cumin
- table salt
- low-sodium chicken broth
- vegetable oil
- shredded cooked chicken
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- minced canned pickled jalapeños
- Cooking spray