Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicken tortilla casserole

I love chicken tortillas, but all the stuffing and rolling and stacking can be a pain in the neck.  So here is a recipe that eliminates all those extra steps.  I like the spicy, savory flavor in this version, not too hot but definitely there.  As always, you can add more kick with more of the spice ingredients, but I think this recipe has just about the right mix for most people.  If you like cilantro, add some to the chicken mixture and then use some for garnish at the end.  However you fix it, I think this one will be a big hit at the dinner table.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

3 individual boneless, skinless, chicken breast
2 tbsp. oil
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 to 3 tsp. your favorite hot chili sauce
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapenos, finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
3/4 cup sour cream
1 (4 1/2 oz) can chopped green chiles
9  9" whole wheat flour tortillas
10 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded

1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

2.  Cut the chicken breasts into about 1" strips.  Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, and then saute the chicken strips until cooked through, turning once while cooking.  Set aside to cool.

3.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces and place in bowl.   Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, chili sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss until combined and set aside.

4.  Melt the butter in the dutch oven over medium heat, and then add the onions, peppers, jalapenos, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until vegetables have softened and are beginning to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

5.  Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in drained tomatoes and 1 1/4 cups chicken broth. Cook until mixture thickens, about 1 minute.
6.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, chicken, and green chiles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7.  Pour reserved tomato juice into bottom of baking dish, spreading evenly to coat. Place 2 whole tortillas in each end of the baking dish. Then tear one tortilla in half and place halves in each end of baking dish to fit the square ends.  Spread 1/3 of the chicken mixture over tortillas and sprinkle 1/3 cheese on top.

8.  Layer another 3  tortillas over cheese, and spread 1/2 of the remaining chicken mixture and 1/2 cheese over the top.  Top with 3 more tortillas, remaining chicken mixture, and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered until casserole is thoroughly heated through, bubbling, and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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