I freakin' love me some enchiladas. You know, the chicken ones with the creamy sauce, full of chicken (duh) and peppers and smothered in cheese. With some of my homemade salsa and a little sour cream on the side…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Traditionally, the enchiladas are made with tortillas, and tortillas are a big no-no on paleo. So far, I'm not brave enough to attempt coconut-flour tortilla (that just doesn't sound good) or almond-flour tortillas, so I that was out of the question.
And then I found this recipe for Cabbage Enchiladas on hip2save.com via Pinterest.
But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I had to give it a try. After all, cauliflower had worked ridiculously well for stir fried-rice, mashed potatoes and pizza crust…why couldn't cabbage do the same?
Of course I didn't have any leftover chicken, so the first step was to get my chicken in the oven. I'd bought some leg quarters on sale, so I just threw them on a baking sheet and tossed them in the oven until they were golden and cooked through.
After they cooled, I removed the skin, deboned them, chopped up the meat off of 2 of the thighs, and set it aside while I got my peppers, onions, and garlic softening in a bit of butter in the skillet.
I cooked the veggies down until they were soft, and added the cooked chicken in, with a healthy dose of seasonings- pepper, chili powder, cayenne, and cumin.
In a separate saucepan, I brought some homemade chicken bone broth to a boil, then reduced the heat and added a splash of heavy whipping cream and some sour cream.
It's a terrible picture, and I should have waited until it was all combined and smooth and creamy.
Ah well, you'll just have to use your imagination!
With the sauce nice and creamy, I set a pot of water on to boil to work on my cabbage.
I really, really should have gotten a head of cabbage with looser leaves- getting them off was a challenge, even with running it under the warm water as the recipe suggested.
All the leaves cracked, even with teasing them carefully away from the head.
I'll admit, there was some cursing involved.
I dropped the leaves, a couple at a time, into the boiling water until they softened- about 3 minutes.
I spread a layer of the sauce in the bottom of my 9×13 pan…
See, all properly creamy. You can stop using your imaginations now.
…and then set about rolling the enchiladas.
Each cabbage leaf was topped with a smear of the cream sauce, a bit of homemade salsa, the pepper/onion/chicken mixture, and some cheese, and then rolled up and placed, seam-side down, in the pan on top of the sauce.
If you've never made enchiladas before, be forewarned. Making these things is a damn mess.
If you have made enchiladas before, be forewarned. Making these things is a damn mess.
I had sauce splatters, salsa drips, cheese crumbles, and chicken and pepper bits EVERYWHERE, pots and pans stacked up, and I ran out of counter space awful fast.
The whole thing was then topped with the remainder of the cream sauce, some more salsa (because A: we love it on just about everything and will t take it any way we can get it and B: I was pretty worried about using the cabbage in place of the tortillas, so hoped the more flavor the better it would be disguised), cheddar and cojita cheese and some chopped cilantro.
The enchiladas were baked for about 40 minutes, or until hot through.
We smothered them in more salsa, added a dollop of sour cream, and chowed down.
So, I guess you are wondering if they were any good.
I'll tell you, it's not the real thing….but it's pretty darn close.
I missed the part in the directions about draining the cabbage leaves on paper towels. That certainly would have been helpful…I ended up with more of a watery enchilada-y mess in the corners of the pan than I would have liked. However, I drained them before and after baking, and that seemed to do the trick.
The next day, I munched one of these babies cold, straight from the container, and it was delicious that way as well.
This will definitely be repeated, so I guess it's a winner!
Creamy Primal Chicken Enchiladas
1 head of cabbage
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper (to taste)
1 cup salsa, divided
1 cup homemade chicken stock or bone broth
1 cup sour cream
2 (4 ounce) cans of chopped green chiles
8 oz shredded cheese, divided (optional)
For the Sauce:
Add the chicken broth to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and mix in the sour cream and green chiles.
Heat thoroughly but do not boil and make sure to stir often.
Let simmer for just a bit and the sauce should thicken.
For the Enchiladas:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the cabbage leaves – make sure to peel them gently, as you don’t want them to tear.
Run the cabbage under warm water as you peel to tease the the leaves away from the head.
Throw the cabbage leaves into the pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes.
Remove and set on a paper towel to dry.
Soften onions and peppers over medium heat with 1 tbs butter or olive oil. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add spices and seasonings, and remove from heat. Mix in chicken and 1/3 cup salsa, and stir well to combine.
Spread 1/3 of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish.
Take each cabbage leaf and pat dry, then spoon on a small amount of the reserved cream sauce.
Add a small amount of chicken and peppers and onions mixture. Be sure to keep all your ingredients in the center of the leaves, with a small margin empty on each side.
Top with cheese (if desired) and roll up the cabbage leaves carefully, tucking the empty ends in as you roll.
Place each cabbage roll seam-side down in the baking dish, lining the enchiladas up side by side. Top with the remainder of the enchilada sauce, covering the rolls completely.
Top with remainder of salsa, and remainder of the cheese.
Bake at 350° for about 20 to 30 minutes.
adapted from 'Simple Cabbage Enchilada Recipe' at hip2save.comPin It