I am a pasty-ass Canadian white boy and all four of my grandparents were born in the British Isles. My ancestors could boil a mean potato, but didn’t know shit about spicing stuff up. I expect any Mexican chef who reads this recipe is gonna say, “¿Qué chingados, pendejo? Esto no es bueno.” Calling these “enchiladas” qualifies as a culinary hate crime.
Moving on, I know people often complain about recipes that have some long-ass story before they get to the actual recipe, so here’s a long-ass story.
Johnny Ancheta sure can play guitar.
My dad is friends with his dad. They both live in northern British Columbia, a place not known for its thriving Mexican community. My dad was the singer in a band, and Johnny’s dad played the drums. We would hang out at band practice sometimes, my dad drinking Canadian beer and his dad drinking Mexican tequila straight from the bottle.
Mexican food is my favorite. Long ago I did a master’s degree in military history with a focus on the various rebellions that sprung up in Central and South American after the Cuban Revolution, and how those evil CIA fucks sponsored right-wing terror to crush those rebellions because people who want food are just a bunch of dirty commies.
My first trip to Mexico was in 1994. I was there for six weeks, spending a month of it in a place most have never heard of. It was a city of fewer than a hundred thousand called Tlaxcala, about an hour’s drive from Mexico City.
I was there to learn Spanish. The family I was staying with fed me breakfast and dinner, and it was always wonderful, but for lunch I was usually on my own. I remember the name of a restaurant I frequented: Los Portales. I just googled and it’s still there.
And holy shit was their food amazing. FYI: Their chicken enchiladas are not like my chicken enchiladas. Theirs are better. Mucho.
One day, I was sitting on the patio at Los Portales, and who walks by but JOHNNY FUCKING ANCHETA! In this small city in the middle of Mexico my childhood friend from butt-ass nowhere northern Canada just strolls on by.
So that was cool.
Anyway, eat these motherfucking chicken enchiladas.
- The easiest way to do this is buy a couple of rotisserie chickens. When you get home you call your kids over with their young asshole high metabolisms and low cholesterol and tell them to eat the skin off the chickens. You get to sit in the corner and watch them stuff the greasy goodness into their face holes and cry because you’re old. Or you say fuck it and eat the skin yourself because we all gotta die of something.
- Since we’ve already decided that yumminess > longevity, get a metric shit-ton of cheddar cheese.
- 20 corn tortillas. CORN, motherfucker. Making enchiladas with flour tortillas is some serious gringo shit. Speaking of which, we interrupt this recipe for a less long-ass story. Last summer we were in Ecuador and after two weeks of eating nothing but Ecuadoran food (which is good, but I prefer Mexican) my wife and I walked past a KFC. Neither of us had had it in years but I said, “You want KFC?” and she was all “Fuck yeah I want KFC.” The place was a madhouse and I’m pretty sure we were the only non-Ecuadorans in it. She went to search out a table while I waited in line. After placing my order there was that mass of people waiting for their food and I was wondering How the hell am I going to know when mine is ready? But I need not have worried. When it was up one of the staff members waved me over. I took the tray and found my wife and as we started to eat, I saw the receipt and burst out laughing. My wife asked what was up and I showed her the word “Gringo” printed on the receipt. She laughed too. A few months later, being a total white people, she scrapbooked that receipt.
- Four cans of enchilada sauce. Red? Green? A mix? Do whatever the fuck you want. It’s all good. I don’t have a brand preference for this. I buy whatever is on sale.
- 1 can of refried beans. I like black beans, but regular is fine.
- A small to medium-sized onion, or half a big one.
- A couple of tomatoes.
- A bunch of green onions.
- You’re probably going to want some sour cream and your favorite salsa for putting on top.
- Strip all the meat from both chickens, cut it up into chunks, and put in a big-ass bowl.
- Take the refried beans and scoop out all but about two tablespoons into a small bowl. You need to save those two tablespoons in the fridge for the HOLY SHIT THERE’S A BONUS RECIPE AT THE END! Nuke the beans for a couple of minutes so they’re easier to stir. Cover that shit or it’s gonna explode all over the inside of your microwave.
- Dump the beans in with the chicken.
- Pour two cans of enchilada sauce in same big bowl.
- Dice up the onion (not the green ones) and put in the bowl.
- Grate up about one-third to half a pound of cheese and throw into the bowl.
- Mix the shit out of it all.
- Take a big ass baking pan, like, Motherfucking Lasagna-size, and Pam spray the shit out of it like you’re trying to kill a cockroach with the stuff. Otherwise those tortillas are going to stick to the bottom like a creepy teenage Jordan Peterson fan clinging to his hot cousin at a family reunion.
- Pour a can of enchilada sauce onto a dinner plate.
- I said you needed 20 corn tortillas, because they usually come in packs of ten. You’re going to have two left over for the HOLY SHIT BONUS RECIPE. (UPDATE! Some actual Mexicans called me a pendejo and said you need to fry these corn tortillas first, like I do for the bonus recipe. So let’s do that. A bit of oil in a pan on medium and only about 10 seconds a side. Don’t overcook.) After frying, dredge each tortilla in the enchilada sauce to cover both sides and layer the bottom of the pan. It should take six tortillas. There will be overlap in the middle. And since you’re the chef and corn tortillas are awesome, you’re going to want to make sure your piece comes from middle because that way you get bonus tortillas.
- Spread half of the guts over top the layer of tortillas.
- Make another layer of six corn tortillas, again dredging them in the plate covered in enchilada sauce. At some point you’re going to have to open the final can of enchilada sauce and pour it over the plate. Don’t forget to recycle all those cans.
- Glop the second half of the guts over top of that layer. Then put a final (dredged) layer over top of that using another six tortillas. If any enchilada sauce remains on the plate, pour it over top.
- Add a shit-ton of cheese to the top. Or a little less than a shit-ton if you’re on Lipitor.
- Cover in tin foil and bake at 400 for 50 minutes.
While it bakes, chop up the green onion and tomatoes. After 50 minutes are up, remove the tin foil, add the tomatoes and green onions to the top, then bake for another 15 minutes. The feature photo is my latest attempt right after it comes out of the oven.
There is one problem with all of this. It does not come out of the pan pristine. It loses cohesiveness and blorps out onto the plate looking like a goddamn crime scene. Still tastes good though. If you’re eating leftovers the next day after it’s spent the night in the fridge it holds together a lot better when getting warmed up in the nuker. Either way, this is not an Instagram-worthy meal.
If you want my pasty-ass Canadian white boy guacamole recipe to put on this, which isn’t a bad idea, you can find it at my Motherfucking Turkey Dinner recipe, which seems kinda fucked up but I explain why turkey and guacamole go together there. Otherwise, I like just some sour cream and this salsa. I mean, up here in butt-ass cold Canada it’s pretty much the only made-in-Mexico salsa I can find, so it’s all I buy. If salsa isn’t made somewhere south of Texas, it usually sucks.
Holy Fucking Shit Bonus Recipe!
You have two corn tortillas and a bit of refried beans left. The next morning it’s time for Motherfucking Huevos Rancheros. Or should that be Chinga tu Madre Huevos Rancheros? Do I need to change this recipe name to Chinga tu Madre Enchiladas de Pollo? Whatever. Let’s have some fucking desayuno.
Heat a bit of olive oil on medium in a frying pan. Place each tortilla in the hot pan and cook for only about ten seconds a side. Don’t overcook them or they get all crunchy and gross. Wipe off excess oil with a paper towel. Heat up the refried beans in the nuker and smear on top of each tortilla. Cook up a couple of fried eggs and put on top.
Then, and this is muy importante, top with this salsa. It’s gotta be the green kind.
If you have any Mexican friends, I probably wouldn’t make these enchiladas for them unless you enjoy being called a cabrón.
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James S. Fell, MA, MBA, has bylines in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, TIME Magazine, and many other publications. His blog has millions of readers and he is the author of two books: The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant (St. Martin’s Press, 2019), and Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind (Random House Canada, 2014). Order them here.