Potato Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce

by Sandy on March 11, 2013

image Potato Enchiladas  Green Chile Tomatillo Sauce Recipe-

I’ve got a great Potato Enchilada Recipe with Green Chile and Tomatillo Sauce that is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. “You made potato enchiladas?”  I get that question a lot.  For some reason, the potato isn’t high on the list of favorite Mexican foods.  Potatoes have the reputation of being Irish peasant food or American Thanksgiving fare or something the Germans make salad out of.  How soon they forget that the simple spud is really La Patata, an exotic Latina from ancient Peru; worshiped by Aztecs; the giver of life. Ripped from her homeland and her love, El Chile, she was loaded onto great ships by ruthless privateers who took La Patata to the icy lands of Europe to entertain royalty in the fancy courts of England and Belgium.  One fateful night, La Patata escaped from a ship wreck and washed ashore on the Emerald Island… Ireland.

It took almost one hundred years for La Patata to find her way back to the Americas.  Stuffed in the pockets of her devoted Irishmen, La Patata made the journey home to be reunited with her chiles and her tacos and enchiladas…

Hey!  That’s what they told me.

Anyway,  potatoes are an important part of Latin cuisine which means they are an important part of Southwest cuisine.  And, while they are perfect in tacos and burros, there is nothing that goes with potatoes better than chiles.  Green chiles to be exact.  So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland and La Patata, I’m sharing Potato Enchiladas with Green Chile Tomatillo Sauce.

The recipe was inspired by the potato cakes that my mother used to make out of leftover mashed potatoes.  When I was young, I ate them with ketchup but, now I prefer them rolled up in an enchilada and smothered with green chile or ranchero sauce.  A ranchero sauce is simply a sauce with green chiles.  Many places use tomatoes in their ranchero sauce but, here in Sonoran Arizona, we leave the tomatoes out.

image Potato Enchilada Green Chile Tomatillo Ranchero Sauce

You can make the sauce a day ahead or even make a giant batch and freeze in zip bags.  And, if you have a favorite canned green chile enchilada sauce, you can even use it to save time.  Shhh… it will be our little secret.

 —posted by Sandy

5.0 from 3 reviews
Potato Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Potatoes and green chiles are perfect for each other. Make these Potato Enchiladas with Rancho or Green Chile Sauce for a great meatless dinner.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American Southwest
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 1½ pounds tomatillos
  • 2 small yellow onions, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 or 2 green New Mexico or Anaheim chiles
  • 3 cups of water, vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1½ cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream (more for garnish)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, if necessary
  • ½ cup salsa
  • chopped cilantro
  1. Clean tomatillos and remove husks and stems. Remove stems and seeds from chile. Toss tomatillos, chile and 1 onion (cut in quarters) in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and roast in the oven at 450 degrees until the skins are charred and can be easily removed from the tomatillo and chile, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the vegetable over and add the garlic half way though cooking.
  2. Remove the charred skins from the tomatillos, chile and onion. Place in a blender in batches with some of the water or stock and blend until smooth. Pour into a saute pan and add cumin, mexican oregano and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add lime juice.
  3. While tomatillos are roasting, add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Dice 1 onion and slowly caramelize in oil and butter until dark golden brown.
  4. Mix the caramelized onion and sour cream into the leftover mashed potatoes. Add a little milk to loosen the mixture, if necessary.
  5. Wipe out the saute pan. Add about ½ inch of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough to form little bubbles when the edge of a corn tortilla is dipped in the oil, saute the corn tortillas in the oil one at a time until soft, only 2 to 3 seconds per side.
  6. While the tortillas are hot, spoon some of the mixture into a tortilla, top with shredded cheese and roll into an enchilada. Secure with a toothpick and place in a casserole dish or place in the casserole dish seam side down. Repeat with all tortillas.
  7. Pour green chile tomatillo sauce over enchiladas and bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are hot in the middle and the sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes.
  8. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and cilantro.

Here are some other potato recipes for St. Patrick’s Day:

Papas Relllenos! A Peruvian Recipe with Idaho Potatoes by Everyday Southwest

Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin by Pressure Cooking Today

Recipe and tips for the best Shepherd’s Pie by Cafe Johnsonia

Crispy Hash Brown Waffles by Taste and Tell

Read more about the exciting adventures of La Patata on What’s Cooking America with a great article by Linda Stradley


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