December 4, 2012

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is a concoction that I kinda came up with off-the-cuff last night for dinner. My original intent was to make enchiladas, but alas, my corn tortillas were not cooperating with me. I was trying to eliminate as many steps in the enchilada prepping process that I could, so I didn't "soften" my corn tortillas by either flash frying for a couple of seconds or steaming in the microwave until pliable. Eh, I thought, why bother?!?!!! Well, I learned exactly why I should've bothered when my non-soft, non-pliable tortillas freaking fell apart when I was trying to roll them. Thankfully, a package of corn tortillas carries plenty to spare, so I quickly switched gears and just did a layered "lasagna" type of enchilada casserole instead. Crisis averted!

Again, the stars aligned and this casserole of sorts was exactly the flavor profile that I was looking for. Yummy roasted chicken nestled in a creamy green chile sauce with cheese sprinkled throughout. It. was. awesome. Kids and adults inhaled this meal; served with a smile and a side salad, of course. Yum!

(Sorry, no photo.)

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole


2 Tablespoons of butter
1 medium can of green chiles
2 Tablespoons AP flour
1 large can of green chile enchilada sauce
4 ounces of softened cream cheese, diced
1/2 cup of half and half (you could substitute milk)
salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2-4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of Ancho or regular chile powder
2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
salt and pepper to taste (1/2 to 1 tsp each)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1/2 onion diced
1 medium can of green chiles
8 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
corn tortillas


For the sauce:
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add in green chiles and saute for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and combine with green chiles. Cook for 1-2 minutes until raw flour is cooked and paste is formed. Whisk in green enchilada sauce until it starts to thicken. Add in pieces of cubed cream cheese and continue to whisk until cream cheese is melted. Turn heat down to medium. Whisk in half and half and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the chicken:
Combine chile powder, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

On a large baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over the chicken. Sprinkle a generous amount of spice mixture over the top of each breast. Using a pair of tongs, roll the chicken around on the sheet pan to coat both sides of each breast. Broil on high for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (I place my oven rack on the second to the closest notch on the top so the sheet pan can be fairly close to the heat without the oil catching on fire.) Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes or until the chicken can be handled.

Shred the cooked chicken with your fingers into a large bowl. Add any pan juices to the mixture from the sheet pan. Add can of green chiles and diced onions. Combine with a spoon and set aside until you are ready to assemble.

For the casserole:
(NOTE: At this point, you can roll these into actual enchiladas if you would like.)

Spray 9 x 13 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon 1/2 cup of green sauce into the bottom of the dish (use more if needed to coat the bottom of the dish). Add layer of 6 corn tortillas, overlapping if needed. Spread 1/2 of the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas. Sprinkle 4 ounces of the shredded pepper jack cheese. Add another layer of 6 overlapping tortillas. Pour another 1/2 cup of sauce over tortilla layer. Spread 1/2 the chicken mixture over the top. Place final layer of 6 overlapping corn tortillas on the chicken. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the final tortilla layers. If needed, run a knife along the edge of the casserole dish so the sauce can run down the sides of the casserole. Sprinkle remaining pepper jack cheese and all of the cheddar cheese over the sauce layer.

Bake on the bottom rack of a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbly. (I turned on my broiler again for a minute or so to brown the cheese layer to my liking.) Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

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