This is a wonderfully creamy, spicy, delectable alternative to traditional enchiladas. I came to make it as a layered casserole, as it helps to eliminate some of the more labor intensive aspects of putting together enchiladas for a dinner party.
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Large Sweet Onion – Diced ½” pieces
1 Large Green Bell Pepper – Diced ½” pieces
1 Large Red Bell Pepper – Diced ½” pieces
2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder, Divided
2 Tablespoon Chili Powder, Divided
4 Teaspoons Paprika, Divided
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, Divided (or to taste if you like it hotter)
2 Teaspoons dried Epazote, Divided (can substitute dried oregano)
2 Cloves Garlic – Minced & Divided
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into ½” to ¾ ” pieces
(approx. 1 ½ to 2 lbs. chicken)
4 Ounces Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Shredded
4 Ounces Jalapeno Jack Cheese – Shredded
10 to 12 Corn Tortillas (6” diameter)
3 to 4Tablespoons Flour
2 Cups Half & Half (can substitute whole milk)
2 Cups Chicken Stock (homemade is always best, but can substitute store brand)
1 Cup fresh Pico de Gallo* (or your favorite jar salsa)
Chopped Green Onions (optional)
* Recipe below for Pico de Gallo
No nutrition information available
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large non-stick sauté pan, using medium-high heat, combine olive oil and butter until hot. Add the diced onion and peppers, and sauté approximately 5 minutes until onions begin to become translucent. Divide all of the next 7 ingredients in half (cumin powder through salt) and add to the pan. Continue to sauté over medium high heat until slightly caramelized, and vegetables are tender. Remove from pan. Using the same skillet, add the chicken, and sauté until cooked through. Season the chicken with the remainder of the divided (spice) ingredients. Remove chicken from pan, leaving drippings in the pan.
Add the flour to drippings to make a roux for the cheese sauce; cook for 1 minute, or until flour is completely combined with the pan drippings. (If the roux is too stiff add more butter to the pan.) Add the chicken stock to the roux, stirring constantly until the mixture comes back to a boil and continue by adding the half & half (or milk) to the pan, and stir until a smooth gravy consistency is achieved. (Adjust quantity of liquid, as needed.)
Remove pan from heat. Reserving ½ cup of combined cheeses (for top of casserole), add the remaining shredded cheeses to the gravy, and stir until cheeses have melted and mixture is thick and creamy. If desired, add the salsa at this time, to the cheese sauce. Taste, and add salt & pepper if needed.
Using a 2 ½ to 3 Quart baking dish, (I use a wavy, rectangular, stoneware baker, 7”Wide x 10”Long x 3”Deep) spray with non-stick cooking spray. Begin assembling lasagna by ladling cheese sauce into the baking dish to cover the bottom. Next, place a layer of tortillas, breaking them to fit if necessary. Layer ½ the cooked chicken breast, spreading evenly over the tortillas. Layer ½ the cooked vegetables on top, and around the chicken. Generously, cover the chicken and vegetables with the cheese sauce. Repeat the next layer with the remaining ingredients, and end with a layer of tortillas covered with cheese sauce.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes; or until casserole is heated through and bubbling toward the center. Add the ½ cup reserved cheeses to the top of the casserole and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheeses have melted and browned slightly. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Garnish with fresh sliced green onion & Pico de Gallo, (or salsa) if desired.
Pico de Gallo
1 medium tomato, diced finely
½ small red onion, diced finely
½ fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced finely
2 sprigs fresh cilantro, minced finely (or flat leaf parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
1 green onion (green & white sliced thinly)
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
Juice of ½ lime (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine first five ingredients (tomato through green onion) Stir until evenly mixed, then season with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before using.
* Optional: Just before serving, squeeze the juice from the ½ lime into the bowl, and stir to combine.