Just when you think something can’t get better, it does. Layers of corn tortillas, shredded chicken, jalapenos, onion and cheese are drenched in a creamy salsa verde sauce that is to die for! A deconstructed take on traditional chicken enchiladas, this casserole is easy to put together because the ingredients are layered instead of rolled.
Get ready to indulge in chicken enchilada casserole heaven. It’s pretty incredible, if I do say so.
We love Mexican food. As many of you may know, this type of cuisine can vary depending on the region. When we go out to a Mexican restaurant in this area, it’s always with the expectation that the food will be bland. As in very little spice or heat. That’s just the way they make it. Having enjoyed the flavorful, make-your-tastebuds-dance fare for so many years, it’s quite a letdown.
Sometimes one has to take matters into their own hands when the craving arises. Especially if you live in the middle of Timbuktu. I’ve been toying with a sauce that would be compatible with this dish for quite some time.
In essence, it’s a bechamel, or white cream sauce, amped up with green salsa verde. It oozes flavors of green chiles that permeate throughout the casserole. As luck would have it, I had some salsa verde left over from the other day that was perfect to whisk in to the mix.
The best place to start out making this spirited dish is to have the chicken already cooked. If you want to cut out the work, purchase a pre-cooked chicken at your local deli counter. The chicken can also be done in a slow-cooker, a pressure cooker, baked, or on the stovetop. It’s up to you. I find the best method is to use a pressure cooker, as it seals in moistness and maintains tenderness in the meat throughout. Plus, it takes very little time.
Some garlic and onions are sauteed in a little bit of butter, then shredded chicken and chiles are added in. Once this is done, it can be set aside while making the sauce.
The sauce is butter, a few tablespoons of flour for thickening, chicken broth, milk, and salsa verde. It’s all whisked together until smooth and creamy.
Layering the ingredients is a breeze once the chicken and sauce is ready. I like to set it up where everything is in front of me for assembly.
This was one of those days the sun played hide-and-seek behind the clouds, so maintaining a steady steam of light was difficult for taking pictures of the process. Just one of the hurdles to overcome in the day of a food blogger. In any event, you can see how easy it comes together. Then into the oven it goes.
I like to keep garnishments simple. I sliced up some green onions and black olives to sprinkle over the top when it was finished baking. Cilantro and diced tomatoes are options as well, not to mention the color they bring to a dish.
Hubs devoured the serving I dished up for him. He likes his food on the spanky, spicy side. This definitely fit the criteria. Just remember, you can adjust the heat simply by using milder chile peppers (even the ones in the little cans are perfect for using) and pulling back on the amount of salsa verde you put into the sauce. If you really want to crank up the heat, just add more.
If you stick to this recipe alone, you’ll enjoy a slightly spicy kick that’s not too hot. You be the judge. Please give it a try.
Eyes will light up when this is brought to the dinner table. A garden salad on the side will make the meal complete.
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- ½ white onion, diced
- ½ cup jalapeno pepper, diced, or 4 ounce can mild green chiles, diced
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup chicken stock (I use Knorr Chicken Bouillon cubes to make equivalent)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup salsa verde, or store bought of choice
- 3 cups colby jack cheese, shredded and divided
- 1 8-ounce package corn tortillas
- Green onion, black olives, cilantro for garnishing, if desired.
- In a large skillet on stovetop over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
- Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender.
- Add jalapenos or green chiles and shredded chicken. Stir gently to combine. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter.
- Whisk in flour, then slowly add chicken stock while whisking until smooth.
- Add milk, continuing to whisk. Add salsa verde. Stir until completely blended.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a 2-quart casserole dish, spread ¼ cup sauce in bottom.
- Place one layer of corn tortillas over sauce, overlapping. Tear to fit if needed.
- Spread sauce over tortilla layer.
- Evenly spoon half of chicken mixture over sauce,
- Add one cup of shredded cheese evenly over chicken.
- Repeat until you end up with sauce on the top.
- Loosely cover top of casserole dish with foil.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese evenly over top.
- Return uncovered to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese is melting and starts to bubble.
- Remove from oven. Garnish as desired. Serve warm.
I wonder if you really can tell one’s personality based on the level of spice they like in their food. My guess would be the milder, the quieter. The hotter and spicier, the more gregarious and outgoing.
What’s your flavor profile when it comes to Mexican food? Do share.
Thanks so much for checking in. Have a great day everyone!