Chicken Enchilada Verde Casserole is what I call it. If you speak Spanish, you might call it Enchiladas Para la Mujer Perezosa (Lazy Woman's Enchiladas)! It's for those days when dividing the filling among a bunch of tortillas, rolling them neatly and fitting them attractively into a baking dish is just too much for you.
Because I prefer to make chicken enchiladas with flour tortillas, I first made this with flour. Then I tried it with corn tortillas (sooooo good!) and never looked back.
If I were making this for a company dinner, I'd serve it with a salad, beans and my Mexican Rice. But for a busy weeknight, it's just this and some steamed broccoli. Still very satisfying. And leftovers reheat beautifully in the toaster oven.
Where do you stand on the enchiladas versus enchilada casserole issue? My friend Jo rolls her eyes at the very idea of rolling enchiladas and always does a casserole. I'm definitely coming around to her way of thinking!
Chicken Enchilada Verde Casserole
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder*
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 4-ounce can diced hot green chiles, drained
8 ounces coarsely shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
1 cup crushed tomatillos, divided (Muir Glen organic)
12 5- to 6-inch corn tortillas, halved (or 6 8- to 9-inch flour tortillas, each cut into 4 wedges)
* I don't use a commercial chili powder because they typically contain salt and garlic and other things. I make my own blend of two or three plain ground chili peppers.
2 Remove the chicken to a dinner plate. In the same skillet (no need to clean it) with the oil left from the chicken, cook onion for 5 minutes (or longer, if you like). Add bell pepper and continue cooking until tender, about 5 minutes.
3 While the onion and pepper are cooking, shred the chicken, using two forks; place in a 1-quart glass measure. You should have about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded chicken. Add the onion and bell pepper to the chicken.
4 In the same skillet (again, no need to clean it), melt the butter and blend in the flour, chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cumin and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the broth, bringing the sauce to a simmer. When it begins to bubble, continue cooking and whisking for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5 Stir 1/2 cup of the sauce, along with the sour cream, diced green chiles, 3/4 cup of the cheese and 1/4 cup crushed tomatillos, into the chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning; you might want to add about 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Lightly oil or spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce and 1/4 cup of crushed tomatillos over the bottom of the oiled baking dish.
6 Place a third of the tortillas in the baking dish. Spread half the chicken mixture over the tortillas. Add half the remaining tortillas. Spread remaining chicken mixture over the tortillas. Add the remaining tortillas. Cover with remaining sauce and crushed tomatillos. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate until an hour before serving time.
7 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream and a squeeze of lime; garnish with cilantro or sliced green onions.