Written by Katherine Sasser.

Photos by Elizabeth McLaurin.

A couple of weeks ago at Hurley House, we had a Chicken Enchilada situation that left my head spinning and my jaw on the ground.

Every week we offer one oven-ready take-away meal. We always prepare a fixed quantity of the meal and take reservations or sell them in person until they are sold. Our goal is to make enough to have a few left at the end of the week, but not so many left that we lose money.

The heart behind this arm of our business is to provide an avenue for families or friends to gather and share a meal together without fussing over the food. We do the cooking. You get to enjoy a homemade meal. It’s a win win.

The heart behind this arm of our business is to provide an avenue for families or friends to gather and share a meal together without fussing over the food. We do the cooking. You get to enjoy a homemade meal. It’s a win win.

Six years into the business, and three years into being in a commercial retail location, I have gathered enough sales data to effectively plan and predict how many meals we can sell in a given week. Without a doubt, Chicken Enchiladas are our top seller. We always prepare and sell fifty percent more of this meal than any other meal we offer.

Enchilada week is a major undertaking in the Hurley House kitchen, stretching our team and resources to the brink. We really could not make (or store) more if we wanted to, and operating at maximum capacity is a fantastic challenge we face.

A couple of weeks ago, during Enchilada week at Hurley House, we did what we always do. We prepared a huge number of Chicken Enchiladas, posted our menu online, and thought we were prepared to have a full, but predictable, week selling Enchiladas for the next six days.

By noon on Tuesday, every single pan was gone. Gone. Scooped up by knowing clients who were wise enough to realize due to the six-week rotation of our menu that we would not be offering these again before the end of the year. People were reserving four or five pans. The phone did not stop ringing. There was a line in our drive-through that challenged a Chick-Fil-A lunch time rush. We were slinging pans of Chicken Enchiladas in a flurry of activity, and when the dust settled on Tuesday, they were all gone.

Some of our regular clients, who know how we operate, yet did not reserve a meal, were so frustrated to walk in on a Tuesday and hear the bad news, that I felt compelled to show up on social media and apologize. People really got their feelings hurt over missing Chicken Enchilada week at Hurley House.

My point in telling you this story is to provide real-time evidence to back up the fan-worthy status of the enchilada recipe I am sharing with you today. This recipe originated in my own home, as all Hurley House recipes do, and is an amalgamation of several different versions that I have tried over the years. The base is corn tortillas, freshly roasted chicken, and Monterrey Jack cheese. But the real hero is the sour cream sauce. I could (and frequently do) sop this sauce up with a tortilla and call it lunch. It’s insanely good. Tangy from sour cream, sharp from a hint of onion, and all of it melded into a cream sauce that comes together rather quickly.

My biggest win, and the moment when I feel like my Chicken Enchilada game really became next level, is when I stopped trying to fill and roll individual enchiladas. I would spend way too long laboring over this tedious task, only to cover them in sauce, bake them, and then scoop them out without regard for where one enchilada ended and another began. No more. My kind of Chicken Enchiladas are so gooey and soft that trying to delineate individually rolled tortillas is a fool’s errand. So instead, I layer everything together into a casserole, and no one is the wiser. I highly recommend topping them with pickled jalapeños before baking for an even more over-the-top flavor explosion.

My Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas are the perfect holiday family meal, providing a welcome change of flavors from the turkey and dressing and pumpkin. They are a palate cleanser of the best kind, best served with cool creamy guacamole, perhaps a pot of cumin-scented black beans, and heaps of tortilla chips for scooping up the extra sauce.

For the Hurley House clients who haven’t yet put it together that 2019 will end without another round of Chicken Enchiladas, I’m sorry. For you, dear reader, a home cook willing and ready to dive in and do the cooking, Christmas came early this year.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
16 ounces sour cream
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped onion
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 corn tortillas, torn into quarters
16 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
Pickled jalapeño peppers (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour and butter are blended and bubbly, about one minute.

Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, about two to three minutes.

Mix in the sour cream, heavy cream, chopped onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Layer half of the torn tortillas in the bottom of an oven-safe 9X13 (4-quart) baking dish.
Add all of the chicken, half of the cheese, and the remaining torn tortillas.
Pour all of the sour cream sauce over the layered mixture.
Top with the remaining cheese and pickled jalapeños (if using).

Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes until bubbly and hot.

Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe.

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