Shrimp Enchiladas

Last night we had plans to celebrate a friend’s birthday with buffalo wings and beer at our favorite place for both, Bailey’s. Unfortunately Old Man Winter had other plans and dumped a few inches of snow and ice on the ground right as we were getting ready to leave. Nothing was defrosted and we had neither leftovers nor plans to cook, so we turned to the deep freeze. To make a long story filled with the itemization and removal of every meat in the freezer (Josh) and much hemming and hawing (me) short, eventually we came up with these shrimp enchiladas.

It became a true pantry challenge. Without the ideal amount of Monterey Jack - my favorite for enchiladas - on hand, I filled and topped the enchiladas with a combination of Monterey Jack, Queso Fresco and Double Gloucester (I was itching for the Camembert, but I knew Josh would have a hard time with shrimp-Camembert enchiladas). I used Dorot frozen cilantro and canned Hatch chilies in my sauce, and against what would usally be my enchilada preference (corn), flour tortillas.

With proper planning, and more/better ingredients I think these could be dinner-party worthy. Prepared only with what I had on hand, however, they were spicy, gooey and hot on a cold winter night - a decent substitute for buffalo wings indeed.

For the sauce, you will need:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
Half a can Hatch green chilies, diced (half reserved)
Half a small red onion, diced (half reserved)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground chili powder
Juice of half a lime
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped (or two cubes of Dorot frozen cilantro)
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Melt the butter over medium-low heat and add flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for about a minute, then pour in milk and whisk constantly for another minute. As mixture thickens, whisk more frequently. Once mixture has thickened, add salt, green chilies, onions and garlic and whisk again. Add all seasonings, lime juice and cilantro before adding cheese. Reduce heat to low.

For the enchiladas, you will need:

8 flour tortillas, warmed just before rolling
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound mixed cheeses, shredded
Reserved Hatch chilies
Reserved red onion
Olive oil for searing the shrimp

Place peeled shrimp into a medium bowl. Toss with salt, cumin and cayenne.

Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add in as many shrimp as possible without crowding and cook for a minute on each side (you do not want to cook the shrimp through - just brown the outsides, as they will continue to cook in the oven). Repeat until all shrimp are browned. Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside.

To assemble:

Place a warmed tortilla on a flat surface. Sprinkle on about 2 tablespoons of cheese, then add 3-4 shrimp per tortilla, a sprinkling of diced red onion, and a teaspoon of chilies. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the enchilada and place it into a baking dish. Repeat until your baking dish is full. Pour prepared sauce over the enchiladas, sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and place in a 400 degree oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until brown and bubbly.

Serve with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.


  1. HA.

    Well, I showed Ken your gorgeous food photo, and he said, "Tell Vicki to ship some of this to us (overnighted, in a food container, I suppose?) and I'll overnight some Central Market tortillas to her."

    I think we'll maybe be trying this out soon. ;)

  2. Thanks Ang! It was taken with my little point and shoot...I've learned that the real trick is natural light, so now I photograph all my food on a stool near the front door. ;)

    They would have been heavenly with Central Market tortillas! Fortunately (or not so fortunately) Trader Joe's makes a pretty good version - though they are defintely not as fresh. Let me know how tastes with those!