Enchiladas & Gravy

For those who asked how I make enchiladas, I don’t really uses a recipe but I’ll try to describe what I do in a manner that hopefully makes sense.

In this picture, I hadn’t yet sprinkled the cheese on top.  I use either cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack . . truthfully, whatever is open and in the fridge is what gets sprinkled on top.

The first thing I do is boil chicken breasts.  I use only chicken breasts and use the ones with the skin and the bone still on them.  And, for the 8 enchiladas shown above, I used less than one split chicken breast!  Usually when I make enchiladas, I boil several breasts and use the meat for chicken salad, casserole or whatever.  In the water, I add cumin, chili powder, a quartered onion, a handful of cilantro, a tablespoon or two of chicken soup base or chicken boullion granules or cubes, a couple of bay leaves, a dozen or so peppercorns and anything else that seems like it should be in there.  Make sure you have plenty of water because you’ll use that broth to make the gravy.  Simmer the chicken breasts til the meat is very tender and will shred with a fork.

Once the chicken is done, take it out of the broth and let everything cool.  If you’re worried about fat, let the broth cool down and skim the fat off the top but really . . you’re eating Mexican food . . why worry about the fat for this dish?

Next thing I do is make the flour tortillas.  I use 3 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup shortening.  I put all that in a big bowl and squish it all together with my fingers til it’s all mixed up and blended as good as it’s going to get.  Add 1 cup warm milk and stir it all til mixed.  Usually I dump it onto a floured countertop and kinda knead it til it’s mixed and smooth.  Then let it sit and relax for 20 or 30 minutes.

I have a tortilla press but it’s a 6″ and I like larger tortillas for enchiladas so I just roll them out.  They’re never perfectly round but who knows when they’re all rolled up and covered in gravy and cheese?  Right . . no one knows!

The dough will make 8 good sized tortillas.  Divide it into 8 little balls, roll them out and cook them, one at a time, over medium heat in a dry sauce pan.  Stack them and keep them warm.  I usually make the enchiladas as the tortillas come out of the skillet.  To make the enchiladas, sprinkle a little shredded chicken and some chopped onion along one side, then roll it up.

For the gravy, I use the same pan in which I cooked the tortillas.  Start with about 1/4 cup of shortening and 1/4 cup flour.  Make a roux adding more flour or oil if needed.  Get it medium brown.  Stir in a bit of cumin, chili powder, red pepper . . whatever makes you happy.  Don’t add salt yet.  Add hot broth . . enough to make the gravy the consistency you want.  As it simmers, you may find that you need to add more broth.  Check for seasonings and add salt if needed.

Spread a little gravy in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Place the enchiladas in there and pour the rest of the gravy over them.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake about 10 or 15 minutes.

Pretty simple and darned good!


  1. 1

    Sarah says

    Have you tried freezing them before? I make enchiladas a lot and I read somewhere that they are pretty good frozen and thawed individually (put some of the gravy/sauce inside the tortilla with the meat to keep it moist) but my kids eat them as soon as I make them so I don’t get the chance to try it. I was just wondering since you make and freeze a lot of meals if you have tried it with this one. Thank you so much for posting about making the tortillas! The price of tortillas keeps going up here in central Ohio so I was just on the hunt for a homemade version!! Perfect timing, as always. One last thing, I L.O.V.E. your pantry! My husband is NOT a “hoarder” (his word, not mine!) and forbids me to stockpile things BUT I plan to show him your pantry and ask if that is acceptable. He will say it is and thus my plan is born. He already bought me a canner and pressure cooker last year but he thinks a large garden isn’t necessary. Once I show him all your lovelies he will want the freshly canned goods all winter as well. I might even be able to wrangle a “pantry” room in the basement out of him….. :o)

    • 1.1


      I do use the freezer for some things but we love the tortillas that have just been made and not even put in the fridge. The food on my shelves looks like a lot, mainly because if I want fresh canned tomatoes, they HAVE to all be done this time of year and because of the sale I got on green beans. He can call it hoarding or not but if he’s ever lived through a time when food wasn’t available or in short supply due to disaster or whatever, he’d have a stocked pantry too. People sometimes don’t realize that when things happen, there are no restaurants or grocery stores open . . anywhere near the affected area. During Hurricane Rita, my dad drove almost 60 miles to pay $5 for a half gallon of milk . . and could only get one. As long as what I have will be used before the expiration date, I’m happy to have it. If ever I find cans are expiring or there are things I’ll never use, then I’m not happy with my plan. Good luck getting yourself a pantry room.

  2. 2

    Sandy says

    Thank you very much for sharing your recipe. I have to try these as my husband (who was raised in Albuquerque) loves Mexican food.


  3. 3

    Marky says

    Thank you! When I read yesterday’s blog about the enchiladas I was hoping you’d share your recipe! We rarely eat out so having a variety of ethnic type recipes, is the “spice” in our life.

    • 3.1


      We have a Mexican restaurant here but it just isn’t very good. We kept going back thinking we’d find something we liked better, or their food would be better and then I said to myself . . if we love Mexican, why don’t I just figure out how to make it . . and I did. The other night night when I fixed the enchiladas, Chad said “this is so much better than the restaurant!”

  4. 4

    carol c says

    i envy all you do Judy. i was never taught to cook, can or anything. so now as an older adult, i still lack those things. i really like the taste of homemade things. i am off to go make a chicken pot pie for tomorrow, however the only freh thing will be
    the onion and celery. everything else is store bought. my mom was/is a control freak. therefore everything had to be in place at all times and she could even
    tell when i walked into a room to look out the window, that was my last visit in
    1978. my dh hates leftovers too. so even though i have tried the menu thing, and baked a meal, with it hot in the oven, he is pulling me out of the building to go eat out. 30 yrs of being together, he sure isnt going to change now.lol