June 20, 2014
At Home with Friends

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Crab Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

When I have a party, I like to serve something a little special. Crab Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce are very special!

If you hate crab, are worried that your guests won’t eat it or it’s too expensive where you live, you can substitute shredded chicken (breast or thigh meat, or a combo). Whatever you do, do not use imitation crab! The results will be awful.

I use the canned crab that is found in the refrigerator department. This is different than the crab found in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store. I actually buy mine at Costco. It’s delicious and doesn’t break the bank. It’s labeled “Premium Crab / Super Lump”. If you decide to use chicken instead of crab, you need to add a small amount of the Roasted Tomatillo Sauce to the shredded chicken, to keep it moist.


EVENT: Mexican Fiesta

SERVES: 12 people


For the roasted tomatillo sauce:

2 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos

2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil

2 cups white chopped onions

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced

2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Approximately 2 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)


For the crab enchiladas:

2 pound (2 16oz cans) crab meat

12 8-inch flour tortillas

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

1/2 cup shredded cheese (for example, mixed asiago and jack)

Salt and pepper to taste


To serve:

Chopped scallions

Black olives (optional)

Sour cream


Two 13 X 9 X 2 inch glass baking dishes


1. Make the roasted tomatillo sauce

This can be made 1-2 days ahead and kept in a refrigerator.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

3. Husk and wash the tomatillos. Dry and place them onto a baking sheet with a raised edge. The tomatillos will have a lot of liquid.

4. Roast in the oven until they’re soft (approximately 25 – 35 minutes). Don’t worry if they get charred. Remove from the oven.

5. In a large sauce pan, saute the onions, cumin, salt and pepper in olive oil until the onions get soft and almost translucent.

6. Mix in the jalapenos, spinach, the roasted tomatillos — with all the liquid! — and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.

7. Add the balsamic vinegar and vegetable stock.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let the mixture cool completely.

8. Place the cooled sauce into a blender, a Vitamix or a food processor and pulse. You  may have to do this in stages, to  and pulse gently. You want approximately 3 cups of sauce in total. if you have less, add more stock. If you have more — put back into a large sauce pan on medium heat and reduce to 3 cups.

9. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make the enchiladas:

1. Put all crab meat into a medium bowl and remove any shells.

2. Mix the crab meat with chopped scallions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup of heavy cream (optional) and mix thoroughly.

Assemble the enchiladas:

You can do this the day before and wrap tightly with foil. Keep in refrigerator.

1. Smear the bottom of two 13 X 9 X 2 inch glass baking dishes with a tablespoon of the sauce.

2. Take the entire stack of tortillas, wrap them in paper towels and microwave for 10 seconds (just to make them softer).

3. Lay 1 tortilla on a flat surface. Place 1/2 cup of the crab mixture in the middle and roll to form an enchilada. Repeat with each tortilla.

Day of the party:

1. Remove sauce and pans of enchiladas from refrigerator.

2. Allow to come to room temperature. Add 1/4 cup of heavy cream to sauce.

3. Pour 1/2 tomatillo sauce over each pan. The enchiladas should be covered.

4. Divide the cheese between 2 pans. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

To serve:

1. Sprinkle with chopped scallions, sour cream and black olives.



  1. Yum! I’m going to make these with chicken!

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