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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chi Chi's Seafood Enchiladas

The inspiration for this recipe came from a jar of Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base.  I bought the base to make a Lobster Bisque during Soup Month, and it was wonderful.  But since I still had quite a bit of the lobster base left I wanted to find a tasty way to use it.

After a little research, I discovered that this type of base is the key ingredient in Seafood Enchiladas, which were a signature dish at the now-defunct Chi-Chi's Restaurants.  These little rolls of seafood seemed to have had quite a following, even years after the restaurants were closed, so I thought we would try them out.

I did change the recipe slightly.  Instead of using the 4 oz can of shrimp called for in the recipe, I substituted 1 cup of diced cooked shrimp.  The 100-count salad shrimp work great for this and are pretty inexpensive, but I just cannot get myself to cook with canned shrimp.  (Shrimp in a can just seems so wrong.)

This recipe turned out pretty good, but it still left me puzzled.  I read dozens of reviews for this recipe and they all said that these taste exactly like the original restaurant recipe.  And they did taste just like restaurant version, and the kids loved them.  But they still need something. A little oomph.  The biggest problem with restaurant food is that it almost always need more spice and flavor.  And that was the case here.

So on that note, I am on a mission to update these little seafood enchiladas into something new.  I will report back soon with the updated version, but in the meantime, give these a try and enjoy!

6 TB  Butter
1/2 cup  Flour
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
2 TB  Lobster Base
3 1/2 cups  Milk
1 cup  White Wine  or  Cooking Sherry
8 oz  Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup  Cooked Shrimp, diced
2  8-oz pkgs  Imitation Crabmeat, flake Style, chopped
10  6-inch  Flour Tortillas

To make the sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the white pepper and lobster base, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the milk and white wine, stir, then add the cheese to the pan.  Cook over medium heat until the sauce is thickened, then remove the pan from the heat to cool slightly for about 10-15 minutes.

To prepare the crab mixture, combine the crab and shrimp in a medium bowl and add 1-1/2 cups of the sauce and mix well.

To prepare the enchiladas, lay the tortillas flat and spoon 2 - 3 heaping tablespoons of the crab mixture down the center of the tortillas.  Place the flap over the crab mixture, then roll.  Place the rolled enchiladas flap-side down in a 9"x13" baking dish.  Continue with the remaining tortillas, then pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the shredded cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just slightly golden.  Serve with Spanish rice, refried beans and a few lime wedges.


  1. Great recipe. I was lazy and used Buitoni alfredo sauce on the top. Tastes good, but not quite the same.

  2. The sauce does take a few minutes to make, but it's worth the wait! Glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Mary, I have been cooking these crepes since I first had them at ChiChi's and understand the zip you desire. Many years ago I added curry to the white sauce and used crepes instead of tortillas and people have been hot for the recipe ever since. Thank you for adding this great recipe.Liz

  4. Liz ~ I have wanted to redo this recipe for some time and the curry sounds like a wonderful twist. And crepes! They would lighten the dish up even more. Thank you for the suggestions, I can't wait to experiment with this recipe again. :-) Thanks for visiting!!

  5. Did it today and my fam love it

  6. Made this for dinner sat.I thought it came out well and my critics (my husband and neighbor) liked it very much!

  7. I was a waiter at Chi-Chi’s back in the day. The Cancun (seafood enchiladas) was the best selling item on the menu.


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