When I was growing up in Mexico City, my dad used to take me to Sanborns, a famous restaurant and department store. Their chicken enchiladas in salsa verde are legendary—everyone in Mexico knows them! I loved them so much that I devised a special, secret method for eating them to make them last: I’d leave the very last bite to be the one right in the middle of the plate. Now, when I travel back to Mexico from my home in the U.S., I go to Sanborns and order the chicken enchiladas. No matter how much Mexican cuisine evolves, this dish will always remain a beloved classic.And of course, I’ve figured out how to make them at home for my husband and three sons. The filling is moist and comforting, and the sauce is tart, savory, and creamy with just enough heat. Covered in cheese, they become irresistible. All these years later, I’m still sad to take the last bite!Pati Jinich (@patijinich)Cookbook author and host ofPati’s Mexican Tableon PBS


Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Recipe Summary

30 mins
50 mins
Serves 6


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place tomatillos, jalapeño, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tomatillos are completely soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Reserve pan.

  • Puree tomatillo mixture, reserved cooking water, ⅓ cup onion, cilantro, and salt in a blender until smooth.

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in reserved pan over medium. Add tomatillo sauce carefully (it will spatter). Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and darkens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.

  • Pour about 1½ cups cooked salsa verde into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Place 1 warm tortilla on a plate and arrange ¼ cup shredded chicken down middle. Roll up and place, seam side down, in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and chicken. Pour remaining salsa verde over enchiladas and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Top with remaining ⅓ cup chopped onion.

Chef's Notes

Consider doubling this flavorful recipe and stashing a second pan in the freezer for another day of deliciousness.