Friday, December 5, 2014

Turkey Enchiladas

by Sheila Connolly

Five days after Thanksgiving, I was still staring at the mangled corpse of a turkey. It was a small turkey—11 pounds—but there are only two of us eating it. In the past I’ve made turkey pot pie, turkey a la king, and probably Thai turkey and turkey chili. There must be more recipes somewhere!

For a change of pace, I thought I’d try making enchiladas. Confession: I don’t often cook southwestern or Mexican recipes, although I am well supplied with the ingredients, including dried chiles. So I turned to Epicurious, but even there I found only a couple of recipes, one from 1994, and one from 2014. The earlier one started with a jar of enchilada sauce, the later one with a list of ingredients. My, how times have changed!

The newer recipe wanted me to assemble the ingredients and roast them under the Thanksgiving turkey as it cooked. Well, that bird had flown, although I admire the idea, because the flavor would be very rich (I was also supposed to make the enchilada sauce on Thanksgiving day, which might be difficult for most people). So I had to improvise and make a quicker stove-top version.

The original recipe made enough for eight servings, so I cut it in half.

Turkey Enchiladas

28 oz. (2 cans) chopped tomatoes
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 dried ancho chiles (seeds removed)
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 Tblsp whole coriander seeds
1 Tblsp whole cumin seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Turkey (or chicken) leftovers

Unsalted butter for greasing the baking dish
2-3 cups of the cooked turkey
4 12” flour tortillas
1-1/2 cups grated queso fresco (the recipe said I could substitute feta cheese, so I did)
1-1/2 cups shredded queso Chihuahua (the recipe allowed mozzarella)

Soaking the chiles
Soak the ancho chiles in hot water, then remove the stems and seeds and chop. Combine the tomatoes, onions, ancho chiles, garlic, chopped carrot, coriander and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a large saucepan and simmer gently for an hour or more (you do make this in advance).

Transfer the sauce mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth (add a little water if necessary—you want a smooth thick liquid).

The pureed sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking dish (9x13, although 9x9 will do). Spread about a cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom.

Put the turkey meat in a bowl. Add half the remaining enchilada sauce and half of each of the cheeses and mix.

Lay out each tortilla and spread about one cup of the filling on the lower half. Roll each one up (like a burrito) and tuck the sides in. Place the enchiladas tightly in the prepared baking dish, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce has darkened, about one hour. Serve immediately (top with sour cream if you like).

Ready to bake

There was still turkey left. Soup, anyone?

The next book to come out is An Early Wake, the third of the County Cork Mysteries, arriving in February.

Not a lot of enchiladas in Ireland, I must say, although the food is pretty good (and diverse) these days..


  1. Looking forward to trying this new recipe for leftover turkey. It gets so dull after a few days of simply reheating it with gravy.

    1. I know what you mean, Dianne. How many turkey sandwiches do you really want to eat?

  2. I'll have to try this. It sounds like a keeper.

  3. The colors in the pictures are temptation enough! Well done.

    I still love a turkey sandwich with mayo, lettuce, and homemade, uncooked cranberry sauce (cranberries, lemon, orange, and sugar, processed).
    Oh, yes, and turkey soup.

    1. Oh yes, Libby. Ate the sandwiches, and the soup...and there was still turkey left. The cats shared some too.

  4. Oh now this looks great. Just looking at the pictures you want to jump in and grab the food. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you! It's the ancho chiles that make the sauce so dark (I didn't burn it!), but they have a mild flavor.

  5. I just froze a big hunk of white turkey meat so now I know what I can do with it next week! Still have the carcass and wings for soup. Fortunately we love turkey!

  6. Looks like a flavorful way to eat turkey or even chicken. Really looking forward to this next Irish mystery. My mystery book group really enjoyed the first two. Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

  7. Looks easy and what a great way to re-use turkey!

    Hugs, Daryl / Avery