Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas are a creamy, decadent way to use up your leftover roast turkey or chicken.
Friendsgiving and boozy assembly lines
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Years ago, I used to visit friends for Thanksgiving weekend. This visit was known as “Friendsgiving” or “the Liver Olympics”, depending on who you asked. (It’s Wisconsin. Beer was involved.)
We’d always have tons of food left over: so, we would use our turkey leftovers in a post-Thanksgiving enchilada dinner. The friends (with beer close at hand) formed an assembly line: tortilla frying, tortilla saucing, tortilla loading and rolling, and then cheesing, saucing, and baking.
It was always a blast, and I now recreate this enchilada assembly line every year for our family Thanksgiving leftovers. (Mostly sans beer.)
Making Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas
Red or green sauce?
The Friendsgiving leftover turkey enchiladas were red, but I like the decadence of green enchiladas. (If you prefer red enchiladas, check out my Red Enchiladas or Chilaquiles recipe.) This version has a creamy, roux-based sauce with cumin, Mexican oregano, shallots, green chiles, turkey stock, and sour cream. It’s out of this world.
Since this recipe is written with holiday turkey leftovers in mind, I use my rich Crockpot Turkey Stock to make the sauce. Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock also works great. If you don’t have homemade stock handy, you can use store-bought turkey or chicken stock.
Although leftover holiday turkey is delicious in this recipe, it would be just as good with your leftover roast chicken.
For cheese, I use a mix of quesadilla cheese and cotija, but you could also use Monterey jack (really just about any good melting cheese) or a mix of cheeses.
I use roast Hatch green chiles in these turkey enchiladas: they have a flavor like no other chile I’ve tried. If you can’t find them, use your favorite tinned roast green chiles—or roast your own. (I’d suggest a mix of poblano and jalapeño chiles.)
Corn tortillas are a must: they hold up to the sauce far better than flour tortillas. Rather than frying them, use a quick microwave to make them more pliable. Dipping one side in sauce makes them even easier to work with.
Assembling green chile turkey enchiladas
One note on kid friendliness: I’ve found from our picky eater that many kids don’t like non-sauced bits of tortilla that turn brown and crispy (a.k.a., “burned”) during baking. With that in mind, I make sure to sauce ALL parts of the rolled tortillas when the kids are eating with us.
Here’s my basic green chile turkey enchilada prep process:
A couple of notes about the assembly photos: 1. I was making a smaller batch of enchiladas and saving the extra filling for another meal (it freezes well for an easy meal later on!). 2. I wanted the shape of the enchiladas to be clear for photography purposes, so I didn’t go nuts with saucing or cheesing. Don’t hold back with yours! 3. I was using up some salsa verde, so that’s the green color you see on the bottom of the dish. For your enchiladas, use the cream sauce.
Alternate assembly: casserole style
If you don’t have time to roll out each enchilada, you can always serve casserole-style green chile turkey enchiladas. Simply make a layer of corn tortillas on the bottom (sauce both sides; you’ll have 6 or so tortillas). Next, spread the filling in an even layer on top of the tortillas. Then, add another layer of tortillas (again, 6 tortillas; sauce both sides). Top with more sauce and cheese, then bake until bubbly. It’s not as pretty, but you won’t care once you have a taste!
My must-have garnishes for green chile turkey enchiladas include Mexican crema or sour cream, shredded lettuce, salsa verde, lime wedges, sliced onions or scallions, chopped cilantro, and crumbled cotija cheese.
And that’s all there is to it. Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas are a bit more involved than my usual Flipped-Out Food-style recipe. But they’re SO worth it.
If you need more ideas for how to use up your leftovers, check out my post, Using up Leftovers!
I’m sharing my recipe for creamy Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas with:
- #CookBlogShare, a great food blogger recipe-share hosted this week at Easy Peasy Foodie.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- The What’s For Dinner Sunday Linkup at The Lazy Gastronome.
- Delicious Dishes Recipe Party, a weekly link party where bloggers share their most delicious recipes and check out other bloggers’ amazing recipes, hosted by Walking on Sunshine.
Creamy Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas
FOR THE CREAM SAUCE
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup shallot - finely minced
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1 cup roasted green chiles - divided; well drained and finely chopped (see Recipe Note #1)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt - (or to taste)
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 2.5 cups hot turkey stock - (see Recipe Note #2)
- 3 tbsp sour cream
FOR THE ENCHILADAS
- 2 cups roasted turkey - shredded (or use roast chicken)
- 3/4 cup cotija cheese - grated
- 2 cups quesadilla cheese - shredded (you can also use Monterey Jack cheese or a mix)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp ground pepper
- 12 corn tortillas
- thinly sliced white onion or scallions
- chopped cilantro
- shredded lettuce
- salsa verde
- sour cream or Mexican crema
- lime wedges for squeezing
FOR THE GREEN CHILE CREAM SAUCE (this can be made a day in advance!)
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent and softened, 5–7 minutes.
- Mix the flour into the butter and shallots, stirring continuously. Cook for 1 minute, then mix in the 1/2 cup of the chiles, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the stock, whisking constantly. When the sauce begins to simmer, reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Place the sour cream in a small bowl: temper it by slowly mixing in 1/4 cup of the simmering sauce. Stir the mixture into the sauce in the pan. The finished sauce should be fairly thick. See Recipe Note #4 for work-ahead.
FOR THE ENCHILADAS
- Preheat the oven to 400º. Mix the cheeses in a bowl; combine the turkey, 1/2 of the cheese mixture, salt, pepper, and the remaining chiles in a mixing bowl.
- Pour 1 cup of the cream sauce into the bottom of a ~9x13" baking dish and spread evenly across the bottom.
- Wrap the tortillas in paper toweling and microwave for 20 seconds on high to soften.
- Dip one side of a corn tortilla into the remaining cream sauce. Set the tortilla onto a cutting board, sauced-side-up. Add 3 tbsp of filling down the center of the tortilla, leaving 1/4" of space between the filling and the top and bottom edges of the tortilla. Roll the filling up inside the tortilla like a burrito (there's no need to fold the ends over). Gently place into the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. [To serve the enchiladas casserole-style, see Recipe Note #3]
- When all of the enchiladas are rolled, spoon the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top of the enchiladas is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
- Serve immediately with the garnishes of your choice.
- I love Hatch green chiles, if you can find them. Go for mild to medium heat, based on your level of heat tolerance. If you're concerned, start with a tablespoon of the chiles and adjust to taste. Even if the chiles are pre-chopped, I chop them even finer for a smoother sauce.
- This is a great time to have freshly-made turkey stock on hand, like my Crockpot Turkey Stock. If you don't have any available, just use your favorite chicken broth.
- You can serve these enchiladas casserole style: sauce both sides of 6 corn tortillas and arrange across the bottom of a 9 x 13" casserole dish. Spread the filling in an even layer to cover the tortillas. Top with 6 more corn tortillas (sauced on both sides). Cover with more sauce and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake as with the rolled enchiladas.
- The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight, microwaveable container and reheated if you're working ahead (to reheat, microwave at 50% power until warm, stirring every 2 minutes).
- Reference the preparation collage in the post above for assembly technique!
- Any leftover filling can be frozen for up to 2 months for an easy meal down the road!