This easy to prepare Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Stack has, literally, layer after layer of flavors. Perfect for a weeknight meal. Freeze some for lunch later in the week.
Making Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Stack
I don't always cook fancy. Most days, I just cook regular. Regular good food. Maximum taste, minimum fuss.
And as it's now just BB and me, I need easy things that feed two and freeze well for the future dinner or lunch.
And that Friday nights are generally Mexican night, and also the end of the workweek where we all want to relax and get ready to enjoy the weekend, there is a need for something easy, tasty, and perhaps a bit different from the standard fare.
So as I was contemplating Mexican night, and an easy dish to make, I thought of my Mexican Lasagna Enchiladas Casserole recipe. That sounded good. Then I thought of my Hatch Chile Chicken Enchiladas recipe and that sounded good too, so I thought why not combine them - well, sort of. Just the idea of a stacked chicken enchilada casserole, as opposed to regular enchiladas.
So that's what I did, and that's how this recipe for Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Stack came to be.
While not "beautiful" to the eye, this enchilada stack is yummy, easy to make, and freezes well for future use.
So let's get started
It all starts by heating a small amount of oil in a large saute pan and cook the onion, jalapeno, and garlic together until just translucent. To this, you are going to add a good amount of shredded chicken and mix it in well, along with spices, a little flour to keep things from being too liquidy, fire-roasted diced tomato, which lends a lovely deep flavor, and some chicken broth.
The Chickeny Part
The chicken part can be played a few different ways. One way, the easiest way, is to buy a pre-made rotisserie chicken from your supermarket. It seems every grocery store has them these days, they are convenient and pretty darn tasty. But do be aware, they have a tendency to be high in sodium, so if using store-bought, adjust your salt accordingly.
And of course, last, but not least, you could poach some chicken breasts. If you choose this option, you will probably need 2 large half-breasts (aren't they all large these days?) and remember, to poach is not to boil.
Set some seasoned water - salt, peppercorns, a bay leaf, perhaps some thyme - to a simmer in a large skillet. Just a simmer. Add the breasts and allow to simmer in the water for about 10 minutes, turning once, then cover, turn off the heat, and let them sit for another 10 minutes. They should be cooked through now and you can use two forks, or your asbestos fingers, to shred the meat.
Viva La Tortillas
The tortillas must be corn, and they must be crisped up. This stack is going to bake, with sauce, and you want the tortillas to have a bit of texture left unless, of course, you like mush.
Me? I'm not a big fan.
There are two ways you can crisp up your tortillas, one is in the oven the other is on the stovetop. Either way will work, and regardless of the method you choose, they need to be coated in oil before layering them into the casserole dish. This thin layer of oil will help maintain the integrity of the tortilla.
Because you are going to bake or fry them to almost crisp, be sure to cut 3 of the tortillas into halves. You won't be able to cut them after they are crispy, and you need the halves to fill in the sides.
When making your layers, there will be three in all, place 2 whole tortillas in the center of the baking dish, and the half tortillas on each side. With each layer, alternate the sides that get the half tortillas.
Chiles? No Poblano
For the chiles part, I used Poblano peppers that I roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into halves for easy layering. Roasting fresh chiles is not really all that hard, although it can be a little time-consuming as you need to let them rest, and cool, so you can remove the skin and seeds.
I find the broiler method to work the best, you can simply place the chiles on a sheet of foil directly on the oven rack, turn on the broiler to high, and turn the chiles as the skins char.
You could also char them over an open flame on your stovetop, although that can get a bit messy, or even on a grill or BBQ.
And you don't have to use poblano peppers, although I love the flavor. California chiles will also work.
Don't want to roast and peel your own chiles? Then buy a quality canned whole chiles and your job is practically done. Cut them into halves, again for easy layering, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Now it's time to Stack, Stack, Stack.
I used an 8 x 8-inch square casserole dish to make my stack. Start with a layer of enchilada sauce, you can use a good commercially prepared enchilada sauce or make your own Fresh Green Enchilada Sauce, across the bottom, layer your first set of tortillas on top, then put a nice layer of the seasoned chicken, some cheese, and your roasted chiles. Top that with another layer of tortillas, chicken, cheese, and some sauce. The final layer is tortillas, chicken, sauce, cheese. Pop, uncovered, into a 375º oven for about 35 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese has melted.
Let it rest
Do allow the stack to rest for a while to let everything settle before cutting it into squares and serving. While the casserole is resting, put those plates in the still-warm oven to take the chill off. Serving on warmed plates is the best for keeping food from getting cold.
Serve with optional sour cream and diced avocado
To freeze the leftovers, cut them into portion sizes and place in a container with a lid. Mark clearly with date and name of the dish and freeze. To reheat, place the food in the microwave and cook at high heat for 5 minutes.
Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Stack
- 1 cup finely diced onion preferably a white onion
- ¼ cup diced jalapeno pepper about 1 large
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic about 2 large cloves
- 4 cups cooked shredded chicken use store bought rotisserie or leftovers from Perfect Simple Roast Chicken Recipe
- 1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
- 1 teaspoon oregano or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste
- Salt to taste (careful with the salt if using store bought chicken)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup fire-roasted tomatoes with juice chopped
- ½ cup low-salt chicken stock
- 9 6-inch corn tortillas 3 cut into halves
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups shredded cheese I used all jack but you could use a combo of jack and cheddar
- ½ cup crumbled Cotia cheese optional but good
- 3 roasted poblano peppers seeded and peeled, or canned whole chilies
- 1 28-ounce can green enchilada sauce (I like La Victoria)
- Sour cream
- Diced avocado
- If using fresh poblano peppers, recommended: Place your oven rack to the top position in your oven and turn on to broil - high. Place the peppers on a sheet of aluminum foil and place in oven. Roast until charred on all sides, turning occasionally. When completely charred, remove to a bowl and cover with the foil, allow to steam for about 15 minutes, then remove the charred skin and seeds. Open the chilies and cut into halves, set aside. If using canned chilies, cut them into halves and dry slightly with paper towels.
- Set oven to bake at 375°F:While the peppers are cooking, heat a small amount of neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat - add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the shredded chicken and mix well, then add the spices along with the flour. Stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, stir well and simmer slowly for about 5 minutes or until all the flavors have melded and the sauce is slightly thick.
- While the chicken mixture simmers, spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray and place in the oven to crisp. You want the tortillas to be just shy of being hard - just a bit of bend to them. Set aside.
- In an 8 x 8 inch casserole, spread some of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom. Place 2 whole and 2 half tortillas over to cover the bottom. Top with ⅓ of the chicken mixture, ⅓ of the cheeses, and then cover with the poblano (or canned) chilies. Place another layer of tortillas over the top, alternating the sides that get the half tortilla. Put ⅓ of the chicken mixture evenly over, along with ⅓ of the cheese and cover with a layer of sauce. The final layer is tortillas, remaining chicken, top with sauce. (you may not need all the sauce) and finally the remaining cheese.
- Bake in a 375°F oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has melted. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then cut and serve with optional sour cream and diced avocado, if desired.