Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Enchilada Casserole Because I Live in the Midwest

I've mentioned it before, but I've heard that the common stereotype about Midwesterners is that we're nice and we make casseroles.  Once again I'm reinforcing the stereotype, and I've decided to turn my dinner plans into a casserole.  I had a post on cabbage rolls about a month ago when I decided that instead of taking the time and effort to actually roll the filling in the cabbage I would just layer everything and bake it.  I had the same thought while making enchiladas last night.  I always have a problem with the tortillas splitting on me when I try to roll up the filling, so I thought I would be so much easier and faster to just layer the ingredients like a casserole.  I was right, and I will make enchiladas this way from now on.  The recipe I have can be changed to suit your tastes and pantry.  If you don't want peppers and onions, don't use them.  If you don't eat meat, add more veggies and use veggie broth or water instead of chicken broth.  Use the following recipe more as a guideline than a strict rule.  Also, please don't be intimidated by what looks like a long list of ingredients and steps.  It's very easy and comes together quickly.

Enchilada Casserole

For the enchilada sauce
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (I used fire roasted adobo seasoned tomatoes)
  • 2 dried chilies (I used a medium chili, but use the hottest or mildest one you like)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt
For the enchilada filling (these are suggestions, use whatever you like.  I had these ingredients on hand)
  • 3 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 bell red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked black beans with 1/4 cup cooking liquid
  • 1 oz white tequila
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (I used co-jack and Montery Jack)
You will also need:
  • 12 small corn tortillas
Optional toppings:
  • lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • diced green onion
  • diced black olives
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce
To make the sauce:
  1. Roast dried peppers in a dry skillet for a little less than a minute on each side.  Take out of skillet and cool to touch.  Meanwhile, heat chicken broth.  When peppers are cool, remove the seeds.  Place peppers in warm chicken broth, soak for about 5 minutes.  Place broth, softened peppers, tomatoes, and garlic in blender.  Puree until smooth.  Taste for salt and spice.  Add salt and chili powder/hot sauce if needed.  Set aside.  (This freezes really well, and you've made more than you need for the recipe.)
To make the filling:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add chopped pepper and onion.  Cook over medium low heat for about 8 minutes.  You want the onions very soft and brown.  Add the tequila to deglaze the pan.  Add cooked chicken, beans, and broth and over medium heat until the chicken is warm and some of the liquid has reduced.  Set mixture aside.
To Assemble:
  1. Line large baking pan with corn tortillas.
 2. Top with chicken and veggie filling
 3. Top with cheese
 4. Add second layer of corn tortillas
5. Top with enchilada sauce.  It will look very soupy, but don't worry, the sauce with soak in when it bakes.
 Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes
 Cut and serve with toppings of your choice

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