I have a confession to make to you all:
I am addicted to Mexican food.
It is be-all and end-all cuisine that’s sure to make me a happy gal. From tacos to burritos, tamales to enchiladas, you can find me six out of seven days a week indulging in some type of Latin-inspired cuisine.
It’s truly an addiction, and it’s one that I refuse to try to give up. I love the spice, the intense flavors, and most of all, the endless opportunities to stuff my face with more cheese.
That’s why enchiladas always top my list for an easy dinner to make during the week. It’s a surprisingly simple dish to put together, and it’s one that’s topped with a good helping of cheesy goodness.
This specific recipe is actually a mashup of two of my favorite things – traditional enchiladas, and buffalo chicken.
When you’re not in the mood for wings, and you’re craving a stick-to-your-bones casserole for dinner, this is such a genius way to shake up the normal enchilada routine, without making the recipe any more complicated than it needs to be.
Now, the classic recipe tends to be composed of three main elements: the sauce, the meat or filling, and the tortillas, with a hefty sprinkling of cheese on top.
Let’s start with the sauce, shall we? For this recipe, this isn’t a concoction that comes from a can, like the enchilada sauce you might typically buy pre-made from the supermarket.
Instead, it’s a killer combination of hot sauce (Frank’s RedHot is my preferred variety, a classic in Buffalo preparations), tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, and ground cumin. You get a little bit of the familiar flavors that you’re used to from both types of dishes, but the combination here is totally unique.
It’s spicy, it’s rich in flavor, and it has some of that classic enchilada sauce tang.
Next comes the meat, which is shredded chicken in this case. The poultry is sauced with a nice drizzle of the buffalo enchilada mixture, so not only are you getting that saucy goodness underneath and on top of the tortilla-wrapped chicken, you are also getting it inside those tortillas.
Then we have the tortillas. I definitely recommend using corn tortillas in this dish, even if you generally prefer the flour variety. The corn tortillas are more dense and they stand up so much better to the strong flavors and hefty ingredients that you are piling into this dish.
Finally, you get melted jack cheese with a drizzle of blue cheese dressing on top, and it’s just like eating wings dipped in blue cheese, but better. The tang of the blue cheese helps cool some of the heat from the enchilada sauce, making it the ideal pairing.
When this piping hot tray of deliciousness comes out of the oven, the enticing smell will hit you first. The spice reaches your nostrils and gives them a little tickle. Then you get the aroma of that melted colby jack cheese, rising up…
All I can say is, be careful not to drool directly over the casserole dish. Of course, that’s only if you aren’t planning on hoarding them all to yourself (or looking for an excuse to keep them all to yourself… not that I’ve done that before or anything. What? Is that going too far?).
Don’t worry, these enchiladas have just the right balance of spicy flavor, so they aren’t going to blow your taste buds away. Instead, you’ll get a nice slow build of heat as you work through your plate, intensifying just enough to let you know that it’s there.
Pure, spicy chicken heaven.Print
Nothing beats heading south of the border for dinner. But tonight, consider this epic mashup: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas. Spicy, cheesy, and oh-so-tasty.
- 8 ounces tomato sauce (no salt added)
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 8 small corn tortillas
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb), cooked and shredded
- 1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
- 2 green onions, tops only, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup blue cheese dressing
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Place tomato sauce, tomato paste, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, water, chili powder, and cumin in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir well to combine, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Spread about 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8×10” casserole dish, and set aside.
- Place shredded chicken in a large bowl. Add about 1 cup of sauce, and stir well.
- Heat tortillas for about 30 seconds in the microwave wrapped in damp paper towels, or just until warm and pliable.
- Spoon approximately 1/4 cup of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.
- Roll tortilla closed and place seam-side down in the casserole dish.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Pour remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
- Sprinkle with green onions and drizzle with blue cheese dressing. Serve warm.
Keywords: Buffalo chicken, enchiladas, blue cheese, hot sauce, chicken
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare the Meat, Slice Onions, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
To quickly cook the chicken, you can use your Instant Pot. Try this recipe from our Classic Shredded Chicken Tacos (either with or without the spice mixture), or use this simple method:
Add 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the Instant Pot insert with ½ cup water or chicken broth. Set Manual pressure on High for 15 minutes. Quick release pressure, and transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl or cutting board.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can poach the chicken on the stove instead. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken and return to a boil, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes at a rolling boil, until it is fully cooked, and no longer pink inside.
Shred the chicken with two forks, and grate the cheese.
Slice the scallions and set aside until ready to use.
Measure the remaining ingredients and set them out in the order listed.
Preheat oven to 375˚F, and get out an 8×10” baking dish.
Step 2 – Make Sauce
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together tomato sauce, tomato paste, Frank’s RedHot Sauce (or your favorite variety), water, chili powder, and ground cumin.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 3 – Assemble
Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of your casserole dish. Set to the side.
Add the shredded chicken and 1 cup of enchilada sauce to a large bowl. Stir to coat well.
Heat tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds, so they are warm and pliable. Spoon about 1/4 cup of chicken in the center of each tortilla.
Roll each tortilla closed and place seam-side down in the casserole dish, forming a single row.
If you have room on the side, you can squeeze in a few more enchiladas, depending on the size of your baking dish.
This will also work with a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan, but I used a smaller casserole dish.
Pour the remaining sauce on top, and spread it around with a spoon or spatula.
Sprinkle the cheese over everything in an even layer.
Step 4 – Bake
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil, then bake another 8-10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and lightly browned.
Step 5 – Garnish
Remove from the oven, and drizzle the blue cheese dressing on top.
Sprinkle with chopped green onions.
Why Are Mashups So Darn Good?
Simply put, flavor mashups are awesome.
The reason for this is simple: they’re so darn good because you are combining the best of both worlds when you mash together two different dishes.
You take the best parts of one and meld it with the best parts of another, and what you end up with is something delightfully new and innovative, comfort food at its finest.
These buffalo chicken enchiladas are an excellent example of this phenomenon. Whether you serve them to your family after a long day at work or school, or break them out for your friends on game day, they’re sure to be a hit.
What would you mash up if you could make your ideal combination? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe after you make it at home to let other readers know how much you loved it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 21, 2013. Last updated: August 28, 2018 at 15:28 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.