September 06, 2016 | Updated March 22, 2021
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I love me some New Mexican green enchiladas, rolled or stacked, and filled with whatever meat I happen to have around.
In this particular recipe, I use doves. Dove season, from SoCal to Texas, is religion, so cooking Southwestern food just fits. Normally green chile enchiladas have shredded chicken or pork in them, and that’s fine. But if you’re done eating dove poppers, and want to try something different, try this one.
New Mexican green enchiladas are an institution in that state, and I honor their sauce pretty closely. I do prefer rolled to stacked enchiladas, but either way works here.
When I first made this recipe, I wasn’t sure about how it would turn out, or how much it makes. I was happily surprised. Basically a limit of doves — 15 in most states — done in this recipe will feed four people easily. Cool, eh? That translates to about 1 pound of meat.
If you are using doves, you need just the breast meat for your enchiladas, but if you want to go a step further, make dove stock for the green chile sauce. It’s easy: Roast the breasted dove carcasses in a 400°F oven until they are good and browned, about 45 minutes. Bash them up, cover in 5 cups of water, put a lid on the pot and simmer gently as long as you can stand it, up to overnight. Strain and you’re golden.
Or use chicken stock and shredded chicken breast, or pheasants, or turkeys or pork.
For the chiles, there is no substitute for the New Mexican chiles, in this case green Hatch chiles. (Here’s how to buy them online.) OK, I am kidding, there are lots of substitutes, but know that New Mexicans will wag their fingers at you. In order of substitutes I prefer: Anaheim chiles, poblanos, chilacas, or, sigh, green bell peppers.
I prefer corn tortillas for my green enchiladas, and I like to have a little of the edges with no sauce on them, which makes them chewy and a little crunchy — a nice textural difference from the soft rest of the enchilada. But normally you would dip the whole tortilla in the green chile sauce to moisten it.
Once you get the process down, you can make big batches of green enchiladas if you want. The chile sauce keeps for a few days in the fridge, so can be made ahead. And once made, the enchiladas reheat well for leftovers.
Like these? I also make red chile enchiladas, as well as enmoladas, which are enchiladas sauce with mole instead of a green or red chile sauce.
OTHER GREAT DOVE RECIPES
I have 25 dove recipes here on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, ranging from bacon-wrapped doves to slow and low barbecued doves. Some great Labor Day grilling or barbecue options include:
- Doves la Mancha. An irresistible Spanish preparation that has become one of my signature dishes.
- Grilled doves Cajun style. Super easy with a Louisiana flair.
- Smoked doves bathed in a Mexican guajillo sauce. Rich and only moderately spicy.
- Grilled doves with an Arizona desert inspired barbecue sauce.
New Mexico Green Enchiladas
GREEN CHILE SAUCE
- 3 tablespoons lard or cooking oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped roasted green chiles, about a dozen
- 1 teaspoon epazote (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 1/2 cups dove broth or chicken stock
- Salt (smoked salt if you have it)
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 pound meat, shredded or diced small
- Salt, smoked if you have it
- 6 ounces of shredded cheese, divided
- 1 cup of minced onion
- 12 6- inch tortillas
- Prep the green chiles. You need to roast your green chiles. I use New Mexican, Hatch-style chiles. This makes for a zippy sauce. You can make it milder by using milder chiles. If you've never roasted chiles before, here is a tutorial.
- Make the chile sauce. Heat the lard over medium-high heat and cook the onions until soft, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Puree in a blender.
- Make the filling. Dice the meat and salt well. Mix with about 1/4 cup of the green chile sauce as well as about 2 ounces of cheese and the onion.
- Prep the tortillas. Heat the tortillas on a comal or other heavy skillet until they blacken and puff up a little. Then put them in a tortilla warmer, or stack on a plate and put a bowl over them. Let them steam a few minutes before building the enchiladas. Or, you can dip them in hot oil for a few seconds, or dip them in the hot green chile sauce. Either way, shake off the excess oil or sauce.
- Build the enchiladas. Pour a little green chile sauce into a casserole. Fill a tortilla with a little of the filling and roll it up. Place seam side down on the casserole. Repeat until you're done. You should get about 15 tortillas.
- Finish. Pour more green chile sauce over the enchiladas and top with lots of the shredded cheese. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
My husband asked for enchiladas for Thanksgiving so I prepared this green chili sauce ahead of time to be ready to throw it together on turkey day. However Covid happened. Is it better for me to just freeze the sauce for a later day? Or can I go ahead and prepare the dish and freeze it?
Shairley: I’d freeze the sauce. Sorry that happened!
These were fantastic, as is everything I have made from this site! Didn’t have epazote, but would love to try again when I get my hands on some. Also made half flour and half corn tortillas, in case anyone is considering doing so.
Thanks, Hank, for all you do to share real food with us 🙂
Delicious! Great alternative way to use dove meat!
Made this recipe twice within the last month with Sharptails. Delicious!
Usually do this recipe with shredded pheasant. Love the green chile sauce, someday I’ll get some epozote for all the recipes I haven’t had it for.
I re-read that and I now realize I glossed over “carcasses”. Oops. Thanks for the clarification. BTW the color of the comment font is very very close to the background field color. Extremely hard to see when you are typing. All is good when you tab out of the field. Thanks again!
Oops. Should have been @400 degrees.
Steve: Yes, I am sure about roasting the dove carcasses at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. They might need a little less than 45 minutes, but that’s the temp you want. The enchiladas cook at 350 degrees.
Made these for the family pre thanksgiving, used up all our dove from the freezer, and doubled the sauce for a dish of just cheese enchiladas. Excellent recipe! The sauce really helped the dove shine.
Well this just looks amazing, between the title and the imagery i was sold before even reading the recipe! YUM
Simple, easy, delicious. Made with ground elk, browned, and beef stock instead of doves. Garnished with a little chopped green onions, and crema fresca. Thkx!
Liz – since you’re in Greece, not far from the native habitat of chukar and Hungarian partridge. I suspect these would work quite well, use thee legs of these tough little buggers to make stock, and the breasts for the enchiladas.
Apologies – just reread your blog post more carefully and saw that yes, chicken will do just fine. I’ll definitely be making this soon.
Sounds delicious, but dove isn’t often on the menu here in northern Greece. I suppose chicken will do in a pinch? Thighs, perhaps..? Looking forward to cracking open my last jar of dried espazote.
Recipe sounds delicious! I love the epazote twist as I love epazote. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Hank! Great recipe, I certanly must try it soon. The new web design looks fine, but I miss is the “print” button and the option of downloading the recipes as pdf.
Ricardo: Ah! Will get on that.