Food: Cinnamon and Ancho Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Cinnamon? Yes, that’s right. Mr. A was impressed. And I must say that I was too. These wouldn’t be the same without my dear old friend cinnamon.

I used to think cinnamon was just a breakfast spice but holy smokes I was pleasantly surprised. The combination of earthiness (is that a word?) from the cinnamon and the depth of the ancho chile (and of course all the other ingredients) was an amazing party in our mouths. That sounds weird but honestly, these are now on my dinner circuit.

I was only cooking for 2, but of course this recipe can be doubled if you had a larger crowd.

Makes 7 Enchiladas.


  • 2 chicken breasts, trimmed but left whole
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder ( you will use more it this later on)
  • water
  • 2 cups salsa verde (medium, store-bought)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (medium & salt free)
  • a few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 medium-sized zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • flour tortillas
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese or grated pepper jack or your favorite melting cheese
  • to garish (optional) sour cream, cilantro and/or more salsa verde

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Place chicken, cumin and ancho chile powder into pot. Cover chicken with water. Place on high heat, covered. Once at a boil turn heat down to medium high and tilt the top so some of the steam can escape. Boil for 20 minutes or until you know the chicken is done. Remove chicken- place in bowl to cool. Discard cooking liquid. The next few steps can be completed while the chicken is brewing.

2. Combine salsa verde and all remaining spices together in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Saute zucchini, onion and peppers together on low to medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally so that the veggies don’t burn – they should cook in about 5 minutes. I sprinkled a little more ancho chile powder on top of the veggies while they were sauteing – love that stuff. Remove from heat.

4. Shred the chicken – either with two forks or pull apart with your fingers (the best cooking tool around). Pour 3/4 of the salsa verde and spice mixture into bowl with chicken. Mix so that chicken is coated.

5. Microwave tortillas for 45 seconds – warming them makes them easier to roll. Spray your glass baking pan with cooking spray or place a thin layer of salsa verde- this helps prevent the tortillas from sticking. This is when I set up a little assembly station with all the ingredients for me to build the individual enchiladas.

6. Place cheese onto tortilla, then a small amount of chicken, then a small amount of veggies (I say small amount because you want to ensure you can roll them and the two ends of the tortilla will meet together). Roll and place seam side down into glass pa.n. Repeat. Pour the remaining salsa verde and spice mixture on top of prepared enchiladas. Sprinkle more cheese on top.

7. Cover pan with foil. Cook for 20-25 minutes. I turned my oven up to 425 after 20 minutes and cooked them for an additional 10 minutes – just to ensure they were smoking hot.

8. Garish with some sour cream and many more salsa verde and a few sprigs of cilantro (optional).

I cooked some black beans with jalapeño’s and smoked paprika to add to the side of our plates.

** Spicy note: Of course if you don’t like things spicy, you can use mild salsa verde, chili powder and leave out the cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes.


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