Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I think my very favorite meal to ever come out of my mother’s kitchen is her green chicken enchiladas. Even as an exceptionally picky child (have we discussed how picky I was as a kid? I basically ate nothing, ever), I loved those enchiladas. They were cheesy and creamy and a bit spicy (or a lot spicy, depending on the particular batch of salsa verde from the Mexican grocery store… every once in a while we got a good, if unexpected, sinus clearing). I’m not sure what kind of voodoo magic my mom uses in her enchiladas, but I’ve never been able to replicate them exactly; so, rather than driving myself up a wall trying to make them exactly right, I finally just decided to put my own little twist on the recipe.

Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole

My version is slightly different, but delicious in its own way; most obviously, it’s more of a casserole than actual enchiladas. Many, many attempts at rolling enchiladas and having the damn tortillas crumble in my hands (YES, I’ve asked my mom how she does it, and NO, I still can’t make it work), and I’ve finally given up. Casserole it is!

(My apologies for the sub-par photos… this is just not the most attractive dish on earth. However, I promise that it IS delicious, looks aside!)

Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole
serves 6-8

1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded*
1 large sweet onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
two 16oz jars of salsa verde**
8oz monterey jack, shredded
8oz sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
12 small corn tortillas
salt and pepper

*If you use Pinterest, you’ve likely seen a million pins talking about how you should shred your chicken in your stand mixer. Quite frankly, this grossed me right out when I first read it – but, lucky for me, a friend of mine tried it and said it worked really well, so I got up the nerve to try it… and it. is. AWESOME. It cuts the tedious chore of shredding a pound of chicken from 20 minutes (and sore hands afterward) to about 30 seconds. I bake my chicken (in this instance, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder; baked, covered, for about 30 minutes at 350°), let it cool for about 5 minutes, and then pop it into the bowl of the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on to low, and 30 seconds later, you have perfectly shredded chicken.

Shredded Chicken

**I prefer the Herdez brand, and it can usually be found in the Hispanic foods section of your grocery store. If you can’t find Herdez, use any other brand you enjoy!

1.) Heat a pot over medium heat, and add a teaspoon or two of olive oil to to it. Once it’s hot, add the onions, and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about one minute; season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

2.) Add the shredded chicken, and one jar of the salsa verde, and reduce the heat to low. Keep the mixture over low heat to keep it warm.

3.) Heat a small skillet over low heat, and add some of the second jar of salsa verde to it, so it’s about 1/2″ deep. While that sauce heats through, preheat your oven to 375°, and grab a casserole dish (I used a 9×9 dish).

4.) Spoon a small amount of the green sauce/chicken mixture into the bottom of the dish, and spread it evenly around. Then, take a corn tortilla, and put it into the small skillet filled with sauce; let it sit in the sauce until it’s evenly coated and slightly softened, just about 10-15 seconds. Remove it from the sauce, and lay it in the dish, using as many tortillas as you need to create a layer (I used three per layer, ripping one in half to sit the dish better). You’ll repeat this with all the corn tortillas, layering them into the dish as you go, and adding more sauce to the skillet as needed.

5.) Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture on top of the tortilla layer, and spread it out evenly. Spread 1/4 of the sour cream on top of that, doing your best to spread it out; top with 1/4 of the cheese. Continue layering until you use all your ingredients, ending with the cheese. I like to lightly mist the cheese with olive oil, to help it brown in the oven.

6.) Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned; turn the broiler on for the last minute or two, if needed, to brown the cheese.

7.) Allow the casserole to sit for at least 5 minutes, so it will set up a bit. Then, cut into squares, and serve!

Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole

You can serve this with a side of refried beans, or some rice, or chips and guacamole… or whatever you like! I served ours with a side of chili lime-seasoned cauliflower (recipe forthcoming), because I really wanted to have a slightly lighter side dish; of course, Crist wasted no time in telling me (repeatedly) that serving cauliflower with Mexican food was “gross”, but I paid her no attention, because we thought it was delicious.

Crist comes to visit in 3 days!
Tina

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45 thoughts on “Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole

  1. Mattbell will love this. I may even trick him into eating the cauliflower dish with it. I look forward to that recipe as well.

    Does that mean I get donuts?

  2. Pingback: Chili Lime Cauliflower | The Dough Will Rise Again

  3. Pingback: Potato Leek Soup | The Dough Will Rise Again

    • Yes, I think it would freeze really well! I’d just assemble it, and then wrap it tightly in saran wrap and then foil. When you’re ready to bake it, you could either let it thaw in the fridge for a day or so, and then bake – or just bake it frozen (and add about 15 minutes to the baking time). Good luck!

  4. This sounds amazing and I am wondering if it can be done with flour tortillas rather than corn and my family and I don’t care for the taste of corn tortillas…thoughts??

    • It can be done, and I’ve done it… But be forewarned that the flour tortillas will become pretty gummy. It might be worth a shot with the corn tortillas – I don’t like them on their own, but I won’t mind them in enchiladas or something like this, where they’re soft, and filled up with other tasty things!

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      • I would like to try egg noodles instead of the corn tortillas. My husband isn’t fond of them. Thoughts?

      • I’d say it’s worth a shot! However, you’d probably be better off just mixing all the ingredients together and spreading them into a baking dish, rather than trying to layer. Also, maybe consider giving the corn tortillas a shot! I don’t care for them in any application except for enchiladas – I find them dry and crumbly and bland. But in this application, I think they’re the perfect texture to hold up to all the other wet ingredients in the dish. Best of luck!

        On Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 10:49 AM, The Dough Will Rise Again wrote:

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  5. I cooked the chicken with the salsa verde in a slow cooker and it really absorbed that flavor! Another way to easily shred chicken is to use two forks. Really easy and less clean up!

  6. i just found this recipe on Pinterest and it looks delicious! Have you tried coating the tortillas in heated oil before rolling them? It’s better than it sounds and it’s the secret to making the corn tortillas pliable for rolling. (They don’t end up greasy because it’s just a touch of oil.) Just a thought, although you may have already tried it. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hey there! I appreciate the tip 🙂 I totally know the oil trick, from watching my mom make legit enchiladas my whole life… I’m just too lazy to add in another step and dirty another pan! How terrible is that?? Oh well, they still taste good even if they’re falling apart. Thanks for swinging by the blog!

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      • I’m going to try and make this without the corn tortillas. (low carb) BTW, let me know if you figure out how to do cauliflower spanish rice. I’ve seen it for stir fry.

  7. Cauliflower is a great veggie..good anytime
    Now for the recipe I goofed and used four tortillas….it turned out a hot Verde mess. …have you ever used flour tortillas to make this recipe?

  8. I am wondering why you put all the tortillas on the bottom and all the chicken on the top, instead of alternating layers of them?

    • It does read a little funny – but the recipe does explain everything is layered, beginning with the tortillas. I think I separated all my ingredients into four layers (tortillas, then chicken, then sour cream, then cheese – and repeat, three more times). Hope that offers a little more clarity!

      On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 8:18 AM, The Dough Will Rise Again wrote:

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  9. To keep the corn tortilla shells from falling apart when rolling enchiladas;

    In a cast iron pan, add about an inch or two of Crisco or Wesson oil. Let the oil get hot, take your corn tortillas and fry in the oil, about 8 seconds flip the tortilla and repeat. Drain on paper towels. This make the shells nice and pliable and easy to work with.

  10. I made this recipe and it was delicious! I just added some diced green chiles. I think next time I’m going to add slices of charred peeled poblano peppers. But even in its original form this was a great meal that everyone loved!

  11. Looks delish!!! I can give you a recepie to make your own authentic salsa verde to give it more of a homemade kick if you like.

    • I think it’ll be a little heavy, texture-wise… But it should taste just fine! Maybe whip it a bit with a hand or stand mixer before you use it, to lighten it up a little?

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  12. THANK YOU for a recipe page that has a little lead in followed by the ACTUAL RECIPE. I am SICK of sites that make you scroll through pages of photos before you actually get to the recipe. Thanks for a normal, enjoyable format! 🙂

  13. Put oil in a skillet on about medium heat til drops of water sizzle, use plastic tongs to
    Dip each corn tortilla in briefly & take it right back out, fill & roll & you will quit having
    Crumbles of tortilla.

    • I’m so glad you and your family enjoy it! 🙂

      On Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 9:10 AM, The Dough Will Rise Again wrote:

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  14. Pingback: #129 -Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole – 365 Meal Challenge

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