Enchiladas Divorciadas Use 2 Canned Sauces For A More Complex Flavor

Sometimes you can't have it all in life, but when it comes to enchiladas, you absolutely can. If you like both green and red sauce in this classic Mexican dish, there is no need to choose one or the other — you can make enchiladas divorciadas to get the best of both worlds. 

The name of the dish means "divorced enchiladas," and it's easy to tell why: Each little tortilla package is sauced with half green and half red salsa, so you get both types on each roll. The salsas are splitting custody, so to speak. On account of the festive coloring, this dish is also sometimes called estilo navideño, which means "Christmas style."  

With enchiladas divorciadas, not only do you get to sample both salsas on the same plate, but the two different flavor profiles blend in the middle of each enchilada in a beautiful example of successful co-parenting. Acidic and herbal green sauce meets the sweet and smoky red for a more exciting take on the classic. 

While you can absolutely make your own salsas for this dish, this method is a great way to make store-bought, canned green and red sauces a little more special. Both sauces taste delicious with fillings like poached or rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, braised beef, shredded cheese, or a veggie-forward spinach and mushroom enchilada recipe.

How to make enchiladas divorciadas

When it comes to flour versus corn tortillas, corn works best for enchiladas, both texturally and flavor-wise. While there's nothing wrong with the combination of flour tortillas, sauce, cheese, and fillings, you'll end up with a mushier texture that's more like a wet burrito, which isn't favored by everyone. Before you get to rolling, briefly pan-fry the corn tortillas in oil. This helps to soften them so they're easier to roll, while also creating a crisp, protective layer on the surface, so they won't turn into complete mush once sauced.

For more of a Tex-Mex preparation, start by pouring canned green enchilada sauce along the top half (lengthwise) of a rectangular baking dish. Pour the red sauce along the bottom half. Then fill your tortillas, roll them, and place them seam-side down, so that each enchilada is resting on half green sauce and half red. Cover with shredded cheese and more sauce of the corresponding color on each side, and bake until browned and bubbly.

Meanwhile, the more traditional Mexican method doesn't even require turning on the oven. Simply roll the enchiladas, place them on a plate, and generously sauce the top and bottom halves with the two different sauces — just make sure you heat up the salsas ahead of time. Finish with crema Mexicana, raw onion, crumbled queso fresco, and fresh cilantro.

Enchiladas aren't the only dish that can get a divorce

Enchiladas are a common breakfast food in Mexico, and lots of other morning dishes can also be served "divorciadas." Huevos divorciados — divorced eggs — includes two fried eggs, each bathed in a different salsa. Huevos rancheros divorciados are similar. Instead of just putting the eggs on a plate and covering them in red sauce, the eggs are served on top of two crispy corn tortillas — one topped with bright green sauce and one tortilla topped with fiery red. 

Chilaquiles divorciados are another delicious dish that combine tortillas and sauce. This time, the tortillas are cut into triangles and fried to make chips. Then, each half of the pile of chips is tossed in a different sauce, piled onto a plate, and often topped with a sunny side up egg. All of these dishes usually come finished with crema, crumbled fresh cheese, and raw onion, with other popular partners being refried beans, sliced avocado, and an extra stack of corn tortillas. 

It is also common for these dishes to include a meaty side like ham, chorizo, chicken, dehydrated shredded beef called machaca, or chilorio, a kind of spicy braised pork. Don't feel limited to breakfast — armed with a can of red and green salsa, you can throw any of these staples together in a snap for lunch, dinner, or as part of a game day spread. Just make sure to provide napkins.