Chicken and Kale Enchiladas Verde with a Avocado, Cilantro & Lime Yogurt Sauce

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What is it about warm weather that makes me crave Mexican food?

Well, I guess I should say makes me crave ice cold Coronas with a tangy lime, blood orange Margaritas with extra salt, or a fizzy Palomas.  But a girls gotta eat (especially if said girl is imbibing tequila), and Mexican food pairs so well with Mexican cocktails.  When in Mexico.... or when in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina with a margarita in hand dreaming of being in Mexico, on a beach, with a tan.  Which brings me to this recipe.  You follow?

Good, 'cause this recipe does not disappoint.  It is the result of numerous attempts on my part to create the perfect enchiladas verde recipe.

I started with a canned enchilada sauce.  As you can imagine, that left a lot to be desired.  In addition to the strikes for the inclusion all of the impossible to pronounce ingredients, it also had a bitter metallic like taste.  No thanks.  

I then went on to the Frontera line of Mexican Everyday's Green Enchilada sauce.  This sauce is actually very tasty and contains no preservatives or impossible to pronounce ingredients.  I would certainly recommend this for a "quick fix", with the qualification that I am confident that you can make an even tastier sauce at home.

Which is exactly what I decided to do.  And after watching how simple verde sauce is to throw together on a cooking show (I think it was one of the Triple D episodes - I LOVE that show), I set out to make my own.  The result is a tangy, citrusy tomatillo sauce with a hint of smokiness from the char and the perfect amount of bite.  I'm pretty sure I ate about a bowl of this in spoonful "tastes" before it ever made its way onto the enchiladas.  

If I had happened to have tortilla chips on hand, this recipe would not exist for me to write about - the sauce would have been devoured.  I have plans to make this again in the future to serve as a dip.

And, as far as Mexican food goes, these enchiladas are pretty dang healthy.  They have kale for pete's sake.  In case you haven't heard, kale is the current celebrity of the "super food" category.  But don't let its uber fad-like popularity turn you off; kale is actually really tasty and it is in fact really good for you. Win-win.

And when I say they are healthy, let me qualify that by saying that they are healthy until you proceed to dump a mountain of cheese on top like I did.  In which case I'd argue its still healthy(ish), only with a few more fat grams.   If you want to avoid those delicious cheesy fat grams, I reckon you could omit the cheese.  Although I do not recommend it.  Enchiladas without cheese would be like eating spaghetti without the sauce, french fries without ketchup (or mayo if you're into that kind of thing) or (gasp) a BLT without the bacon.  

It's just wrong. Ten kinds of wrong.

And because it's healthy, you can use all those calories you saved to enjoy that Corona, Margarita or Paloma.  You earned it.

And with that kind of logic, it shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out why this non-runner has started running. 

Chicken and Kale Enchiladas Verde with a Avocado, Cilantro & Lime Yogurt Sauce
Serves:  4
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 pounds of tomatillos (about 6), husked and washed
2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and halved
2 jalapenos, seeded and halved
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
4 coves of garlic, peel on
1 lime
1/2 cup of green onion, diced
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
1 avocado, diced
1 lime
5 tablespoons of Corona*
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

10 corn tortillas
8 chicken thighs 
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
1 red pepper, seed and chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of chili poweder
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil


For Chicken:  Fill a large pot with chicken, cover with water and add garlic powder.   Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes until cooked through.  Drain chicken and allow to cool.    Remove chicken from bone and shred.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add one tablespoon of olive oil and add kale.  Mix well, cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Once kale has cooked down, drain into a colander.  Reheat pan over medium high heat, add onions and cook 5-10 minutes until soft.  Add minced garlic, red pepper and jalapeno and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add kale and diced tomatoes and cook for an additional minute.  Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.   

For Yogurt Sauce: In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for yogurt sauce and blend until smooth, about a minute.  Store in fridge until enchiladas are ready. 

For Enchilada Sauce:   Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Arrange whole tomatillos, quartered onion, and peppers (cut side down) on a baking sheet brushed with coconut oil. Roast for 10 minute until tops of peppers and tomatillos are black. Allow to cool for a few minutes.  In a food processor or blender, add roasted tomatillos, peppers, onion and garlic (remove peel), juice of one lime, cilantro, green onion, cumin and salt and blend until combined but still a little chunky.

To assemble enchiladas, preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Pour enough verde sauce in bottom of a 9x12 or 8x8 casserole dish to cover bottom.  One by one, fill corn tortillas with chicken filling, roll up enchiladas, and arrange in casserole dish.  Top with remaining verde sauce and cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve with boozy yogurt sauce. 

Tip:  To save time, you can boil chicken the day before and refrigerate until time to cook.  You can also make the tomatillo sauce the day before, and even double or triple to freeze and use at a later date.  Also, I doubled the recipe and used 8x8 pans so that I have several frozen enchilada dinners in the freezer.

*So about the addition of the Corona to the yogurt sauce.  I happened to be drinking the Corona, and the yogurt sauce needed to be thinned a bit, so why not with Corona.  This should tell you a lot about my thought process.


  1. Um, yum! So glad Morgan reminded me about your blog ... can't wait to try these. Thanks, cant wait to dig into your archives

    1. Thank you for stopping by Stacy! And I love your blog as well! Your photographs are beautiful.

  2. yum definitely going to try this one I love love love Mexican any time of the year!

    1. It is worth the effort Dominique!

  3. So, I'm making this meal for friends tonight, and (thankfully) decided to take your advice and start last night in order to prep most of it (which was great!). I cannot wait to eat dinner tonight, and hope it turns out as beautiful as yours did, but wanted to let you know you're still inspiring me each week to expand my cooking abilities (even if it's just reading someone else's recipe)... I'll continue to shoot credit your way when I tell others! ;)

    1. Thank you Meredith, you are too sweet! How did it turn out?

  4. Hi! Stumbled upon your blog searching for kale and chicken enchiladas. They were delish!

    1. Anna Maria, I'm so happy you liked the enchiladas! They are one of my go-to recipes. I will make a huge batch of the chicken filling from time to time and freeze it in individual ziploc bags for quick weeknight dinners.


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