RECIPE: Shortcuts make smoky, 30-minute turkey enchiladas a reality

Shortcut Stacked Turkey Enchiladas. Chris Hunt for The AJC
Caption
Shortcut Stacked Turkey Enchiladas. Chris Hunt for The AJC

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Enchiladas are one of my favorite make-ahead dishes. They are a project, sure, but it’s just about as easy to make a big batch and freeze extras as it is to throw together a single dinner portion. Of course, since they require such a time commitment to make, proper enchiladas require planning and forethought — things that aren’t usually on the table for a last-minute weeknight dinner.

Enter: stacked enchiladas. While not as quick as say, throwing leftovers into a microwaved flour tortilla, the act of skipping the filling and the rolling steps cuts enchilada time down by at least half. Once you’ve got a saucy filling and cheese, the method is simple: layer, sauce and bake.

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You can make stacked enchiladas using, well, just about anything. My recent go-to has been ground turkey, queso fresco and smoky chipotle salsa, but no matter what you prefer, the method is the same. (For this shortcut recipe, I prefer jarred salsa to prepared enchilada sauce because salsas typically have fewer thickening fillers and a fresher flavor.) I quickly brown the meat, add a jar of salsa, and let it heat through. Filling? Done in five minutes. The cheese is quick to crumble, and from there, all you need to do is assemble: Layer salsa, tortillas, meat and cheese, adding a drizzle of oil on top of each layer of tortillas to bring a bit more richness. A quick 10- to 15-minute stint in the oven will melt the cheese and turn the whole thing bubbly and delicious. A big handful of fresh cilantro sprinkled on top right before serving adds freshness and color.

And, by the way, don’t worry if the layering is haphazard; the beauty of making stacked enchiladas is that you’ll have to sloppily scoop out your servings anyway.

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Shortcut Stacked Turkey Enchiladas. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Shortcut Stacked Turkey Enchiladas. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Shortcut Stacked Turkey Enchiladas
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably 93% lean
  • Salt
  • 2 (16-ounce) jars roasted chipotle salsa
  • 12 (8-inch) corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Heat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the middle position.
  • While the oven is heating, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and a pinch of salt, and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add 1 jar of the salsa, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt.
  • Spread a thin layer of salsa from the second jar on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with 3 tortillas, breaking them up to fit as needed, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Top with a third of the turkey mixture, a quarter of the cheese, and a quarter of the remaining salsa. Continue to build the enchiladas in the same manner, ending with salsa, cheese and the final drizzle of oil. Bake until hot and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 618 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 37 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 38 grams total fat (12 grams saturated), 117 milligrams cholesterol, 1,106 milligrams sodium.

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