Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm thankful for this sassy green casserole!

WHOO-HOO! Finally, I'm on Thanksgiving Break--a brief respite before the onslaught of finals. So despite the fact that it's technically my roomie's night to cook, I told her I'd be in charge of dinner tonight.

I have been itching to try out the salsa verde that I made last month, so I was thinking maybe of making chicken enchiladas. But I didn't want to bother with rolling each one. So I envisioned a layered casserole, like a Mexican lasagna of sorts. I took another shortcut by using a deli chicken for the filling. And because I am currently drowning in milk from my (cow) farm share, I am always looking for ways to add dairy to a recipe. Hence, I mixed up a quickie salsa verde cream sauce to lusciously bind everything together.

This turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! And there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow night's dinner when I will already be working on Thanksgiving preparations, so that's a bonus!

Chicken Enchilada Verde Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 deli roasted chicken, skinned, deboned, and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dark chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt, to taste (1/2 teaspoon? depends on how salty the chicken is)
2 cups prepared salsa verde (preferably, homemade!)
2 cups cream or half-and-half
12-16 small corn (or flour) tortillas
3 cups grated Mexi-cheese blend

To a skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions until tender and just starting to turn golden. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two. Combine the onions and garlic with the chopped chicken and the spices. Reserve.

Mix together the salsa verde and the cream or half-and-half. In the bottom of a 9x13 dish, spoon in about a cup of the sauce. Using kitchen shears to trim the tortillas, cover the bottom of the dish with an even layer of tortillas, overlapping a bit to cover any gaps. On top of the tortillas, place half of the chicken mixture, a cup of shredded cheese, and drizzle on another cup of the sauce. Repeat with another layer of ingredients in the same order, then top with one final layer of tortillas and the last cup of sauce.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then add the last cup of cheese evenly on top and put it back in the oven for five minutes or so, just until the cheese melts. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema and a sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro.

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