Our younger daughter graduated from college this past Spring and she has moved home for the time being as she starts her new life (happily) in the Boston area! Yes, it has been an adjustment for us to lose the emptiness of our nest, but we are also really enjoying having her home for dinner, conversation, spontaneous outings and the like. Having said that, there is more stuff around and a bit more laundry in the mix. Also, there were some pantry items that came home from school last Spring that, combined with mine, were taxing storage. I decided that since we had more than our mutual fair share of canned enchilada sauce, some of them needed to go.
From there was born this casserole that I am going to be making all winter long. Chicken, black beans, corn and just enough baked tortillas are nestled into an enchilada sauce that is enhanced with some cumin, oregano and some chipotle peppers in adobo that create that unique, smokey flavor. Covered with Monterey jack cheese and topped with some fixings, this dish has all the flavor, but doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. I purposely limited the number of tortillas used in this casserole so it had just enough oomph, but wasn’t overly dense. You could serve this on its own, over some rice or just with a big salad on the side. And of course, if you wanted to add a few more tortillas to make the casserole a bit more dense, you can do that too!
The process is pretty easy. Sear chicken thighs on both sides in an ovenproof, 10-12 inch pan and set aside. Saute some onions, garlic and seasonings. Add the enchilada sauce and chipotle peppers and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer until cooked through. In the meanwhile, toast some tortillas in the oven, directly on the rack to crisp them up. I used tortillas I purchased at Whole Foods that were a combination of corn and flour that we really liked. Remove chicken from the pan and tear into chunks. Layer the tortillas, chicken, beans and corn back into the pan, cover with cheese and place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and is slightly browned. Serve with slices of avocado, chopped cilantro and some sour cream or Greek yogurt for a little cooling effect.
Thank you to my friend, Leslie who offered to be a recipe tester for me. She said the dish got two thumbs up and she was looking forward to the leftovers. She also mentioned that she didn’t add any salt to the dish and it still had lots of flavor. I hope you make this Chicken Chipotle Enchilada Casserole soon – whether or not you have 8 cans of enchilada sauce in your pantry! If you do, please come back to the blog and let me know what you think.
Until next time…