“I think the most important thing to focus on when you’re doing enchiladas is that sauce,” says Roberto Santibañez, who knows a thing or two about enchiladas. The Mexican-born, French-trained chef and owner of two NYC Fonda locations features a few varieties of the favorite dish on his menu, but the enchiladas suizas — chicken enchiladas covered with the creamy “suizas” or “Swiss” sauce — are probably the most popular.
“I have friends who criticized me for that,” says Santibañez about including what some might see as a pedestrian dish with his upscale Mexican offerings. “Like, ‘you shouldn’t have enchilida suizas because everybody has them.’ But I say ‘Yeah, people love them. And if ours are better than others, that’s why we have them.'”
Now, you can have them too. Try this enchiladas suizas recipe at home.
For the Swiss Sauce
- 4 cups salsa verde*
- 1 cup Mexican Crema (subsitute for heavy cream or crème fraiche)
- 12 fresh corn tortillas or 6-inch store-bought corn tortillas
- 1/4 cup vegetable or light olive oil if using store-bought tortillas
- 4 cups cooked shredded chicken, from store-bought rotisserie chicken
For the Toppings
- 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) shredded Chiuhuahua or Emmental or Meunster cheese
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
*For the Salsa Verde
- 2 pounds tomatillos, husked and washed
- 2 jalapeños, stems removed
- 3 small garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bunch cilantro, thick bottom stems removed; the rest washed and shaken dry
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
For the Salsa Verde
- Put the tomatillos and jalapeños in a 3-quart saucepan. Pour in enough cold water to barely cover (about 3 1/2 cups). Bring to a boil and cook until the jalapeños are soft and the tomatillos are tender. Remove from the heat and let stand 15 minutes to finish cooking the inside of the tomatillos.
- Drain the tomatillos and chilies (gently to avoid breaking the tomatillos) in a colander. Wipe out the pan and set aside.
- Put the tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic and cumin in a blender jar. Blend a few seconds, just until the tomatillos are coarsely chopped. Add the cilantro and blend until the sauce is smooth and speckled with finely chopped cilantro. Do not over-blend or you will grind the seeds and make a thick and pasty rather than smooth and shiny sauce.
- Heat the oil in the cleaned pan over medium heat. Pour in the contents of the blender. Bring to a simmer and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat before using.
For the Enchiladas
- Preheat the oven to 375° F
- To make the sauce: mix green sauce and cream, bring to a simmer over low heat. The sauce may be prepared up to a day in advance and refrigerate. Reheat before ladling over the enchiladas.
- Soften the tortillas in the oil and drain them. Using 1/3 cup of the chicken, fill and roll the tortillas. Place the enchiladas seam side down in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Pour the hot sauce over the enchiladas. Wiggle the dish so the sauce settles in between the enchiladas. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Bake until the sauce around the edges is bubbling and the cheese is melted and light gold brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- Scatter the onion and cilantro over the casserole. To serve, scoop two enchiladas and plenty of sauce onto each serving plate.