Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy

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Turkey Enchiladas

“This recipe for Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy so flavorful. Seasoned lean ground turkey nestled into a corn tortilla – but it’s the gravy that makes them great! Even my Tex-Mex raised husband said these are the BEST EVER”

Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy


  • For the Homemade Chili Gravy

    2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juice, chopped fine
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced salt beef broth
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the Turkey Filling

    1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1/2 large)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (7% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup reduced salt beef broth
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • For the Rest

    8 corn tortillas
  • 2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (2%)
  • 2 ounces shredded jack cheese (2%)
  • 1 ounce Cotia cheese, optional
  • 1 small can sliced black olives, coarsely chopped, optional


Step 1

Prepare the Chili Gravy

Heat the oil over low heat in a small sauté pan, add the onions and sauté until softened, sprinkle the flour over the top and stir into the onions, cook about 3 minutes; add the tomatoes with their juice and stir them in, then add the beef stock, stir well. Add the spices, chili powder, oregano, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and chipotle chili powder, along with a good pinch of salt. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes to allow the flavor to meld - adding a bit more beef stock if it seems to be getting to thick. Taste and adjust for flavors adding more spices or salt as needed. Set-aside.

Step 2

Prepare the Turkey Filling

Heat the oil over medium low heat in a large skillet, add the onions and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and turkey to the pan and cook, stirring often to break up the meat, until the meat is cooked, do not brown. Add the chili powder, oregano, and cumin to the pan and stir well to combine. Add the beef stock and simmer, for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is well flavored and the beef stock is gone. Stir in the cilantro and salt. Taste and adjust for seasonings. Set-aside.

Step 3

For the Rest

Heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly brush the tortillas with oil, or use a cooking spray and spray both sides. Place in a single layer on a cooking sheet and place in the oven for about 3 minutes or until soft and pliable. Remove from the oven and stack the tortillas. Mix the cheddar and jack cheeses together.

Step 4

Increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Place a small amount of the chili gravy ot cover the bottom of a casserole dish just large enough to hold your enchiladas. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the turkey mixture in the middle of a tortilla, add a small amount of the chopped olive, if using, and a good pinch of cheese. Take one end of the tortilla and fold it over the meat/cheese mixture, pull back slightly to encase the meat and cheese, then roll the tortilla and place, seam side down, into the prepared pan. Continue until all the tortillas have been filled. Spoon the rest of the chili gravy over the top, then sprinkle with the cheddar and jack cheese along with the cotia cheese, if using. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray then seal the top of the enchilada pan, place in the oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil and cook for 10 - 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling. Wait 5 minutes, then serve on warmed plates.


turkey enchiladas with homemade chili gravy

{The making of Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy}

This recipe got its start as I was modifying my recipe for “Gail’s Turkey Tacos” – one of our favorite post-Thanksgiving meals, to Goose Tacos – using up left-over Christmas goose. Because goose meat is gamier then turkey meat, I decided to bold up the flavors with the addition of some chipotle chili and using beef stock instead of chicken stock.

Now as things sometimes happen, when making a recipe from memory, is the memory sometimes mixes and matches recipes in one’s own head. So my Turkey Tacos recipe, being modified for Goose Tacos, became a combination of Gail’s Turkey Tacos and Gail’s Chili Gravy.

With chipotle.

We really liked the Goose Tacos. But mostly we really loved the new combined recipe for the Homemade Chili Gravy.

So, I know you are wondering what happened to the Goose Tacos.

Well, I made them. And they were good. But I didn’t get a good picture of them, and as I’ve said, if you don’t get a picture, you don’t post the recipe. Well, I did get a picture, but it was a terrible picture.

Goose Echiladas


See what I mean? And I didn’t have enough left to re-create so I put the idea on the back burner. But the flavors kept nagging at my brain.

And the more I thought about it, who the heck has left-over goose meat anyway? Probably not anyone who would be interested in making tacos. So I thought and thought and thought – perhaps I could make Turkey Enchiladas using the new Homemade Chili Gravy, seasoned ground turkey meat, and well…this is what happened.


Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy


In the world of food writing, it is generally understood that you are hard-pressed to come up with completely unique ideas all the time and many food bloggers will take someone else’s recipe and change – let’s say 3 ingredients or a technique – and call it their own. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, this is my recipe originally, and now it’s my new own recipe for Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy.

Although many commercial enchilada (chili) sauces (gravy) contain tomato sauce or paste, in the home of my husband and his Tex-Mex mom, chili sauce was to be only chili. NO TOMATO allowed. But since they were included in her recipe for Turkey Tacos, and since I did make the mistake of combining two recipes, I was able to get tomatoes into my sauce and with the blessing of my husband – as he claimed this is “the best sauce ever”.

25 years of marriage. Some things take longer than others and allowing tomatoes into the chili gravy is one major milestone. Another, of course, is beans in chili. Which I do as well, with my recipe for Beef Chipotle Chili with Beer. Also a new family favorite, and yes, he eats it with the beans.

But I digress.


Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Gravy


We start with some very well flavored lean ground turkey. Try to find ground turkey that is no more than 7% fat per serving.

Then we make our very flavorful chili gravy. I call it gravy, you can call it sauce. I remember, as a child, my brother claimed he “hated gravy” and would only eat sauce. So my mother would tell him that the sauce was in this half of the gravy boat, and the gravy was on the other side. He would dutifully take his sauce from the sauce side of the dish. So whatever you want to call it, it’s good.

As I said, I used tomatoes in this sauce. And while a lot of commercial sauces do use either tomato sauce, or paste, I find these to be too thick and too tomatoey. So I like to use diced tomatoes, in their juice, which I quick blend with my hand-held blender so the tomatoes are almost totally integrated into the sauce. This makes for a tomato sauce that is actually rather watery. If you were to use tomato sauce, I would thin it 2/1 with water, and if you decide to use tomato paste, go for a 4/1. Otherwise, I think the tomato would overpower the chili elements of the gravy.


Turkey Enchilada with Homemade Chili Gravy


I spray my corn tortillas with cooking spray and place them in a 325º oven, for about 3 minutes or until they are soft and pliable. Many recipes have you “dip” the tortilla in the sauce to soften it, but I find this makes for a soggy enchilada, so I prefer to heat them with a bit of oil. Then stack them to keep them warm as you work with them.

On each tortilla I place a nice amount of the well-seasoned meat, add some chopped black olive, optional, but we like it that way, a bit of cheddar and jack cheese and then roll them up and place them in the pan. You do want to use a casserole dish that will comfortably hold the enchiladas but without a lot of space around them. Once they are all filled and in the pan, spoon the rest of the sauce over the top and up the temp of the oven to about 375º and cook, covered, for 15 – 20 minutes, then uncover top with a good amount of the cheddar/jack combo along with the cotia, if using, and bake about 10 minutes more, or until the cheese is melty good and the sauce is hot and bubbly.


turkey enchiladas with homemade chili gravy


Just add a shot of tequila, and ole’.

Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Chili Gravy. 


So let’s just say, you have left-over goose meat and you want to make the Goose Taco recipe. Well then, follow the instructions for Gail’s Turkey Tacos, which involves shredding the goose meat and adding it to the new and wonderful gravy. BUT instead of putting iceberg lettuce on top, use thinly shredded cabbage. And make my delicious Chipotle Crema – you can see the recipe in my notes, but here’s it is anyway…combine

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon milk

1 teaspoon chipotle chili

1 teaspoon lime juice

Pinch of salt.

Spoon over the top of your “Goose Taco”…sliced avocado is a great optional ingredient.


goose tacos


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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Chris Geirman on April 29, 2016

    Get in my belly!

    • posted by LindySez on April 30, 2016

      Can’t get that in Thailand? Well, you can get it when you get home …Cheers!


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    17g (3g Sat, 9g Mono, 3g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Nutritional values may not be 100% accurate

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