Dish of the Week: Enchiladas Suizas

These Swiss-style enchiladas are a bit richer than the usual suspects.
These Swiss-style enchiladas are a bit richer than the usual suspects.
Photo by Steve Dunham

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re taking a look at enchiladas suizas.

Derived from the Spanish verb enchilar, meaning "to add chile to" – enchiladas are a popular Mexican dish made with stuffed and rolled corn tortillas that get dipped in red or green chile sauce before being baked. While we sure hope you’ve had some of those, you may have never had the creamier, Swiss-influenced variety known as enchiladas suizas.

The practice of rolling tortillas around other ingredients dates back to Mayan times, but it wasn’t until Swiss immigrants – many of whom began producing cheeses, yogurt and crema – brought their love of dairy to the region that suizas, or Swiss-style, dishes became popular.  

Often made with salsa verde, enchiladas suizas can also incorporate white, milk or cream-based sauces like béchamel, layers of cheese like Swiss or Oaxaca, or all of the above.

This recipe, from Marcela Valladolid, features a tomatillo and Serrano salsa, a Mexican crema and heavy cream sauce, and shredded Oaxaca cheese and a simple shredded chicken filling.

Enchiladas Suizas

Ingredients yield 6 enchiladas
9 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/4 white onion
1 serrano chile
1 yellow chile (guerito pepper)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Mexican crema
1/2 cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil, for frying
6 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the tomatillos, onion and both chiles in a medium heavy saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the tomatillos turn an olive-green color, about ten minutes. Drain and transfer the tomatillos, onions and chiles to a blender. Add the garlic and cilantro and blend until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix the Mexican crema and heavy cream together in a small bowl and season with salt. Set aside.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the tortillas until golden but still pliable, about ten seconds per side, using more oil if needed. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Place the tortillas on a work surface. Divide the shredded chicken evenly among the tortillas and roll up each like a cigar. Spread 1/3 cup of the sauce in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange the enchiladas in one layer, seam-side down, snugly inside the dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas. Drizzle the cream mixture on top and sprinkle the cheese all over.

Bake until the cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

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