Or you could call this an enchilada casserole.
I thought maybe this would be faster to make than regular rolled enchiladas. Well, I’ll be honest: It’s not. This was an all-day (and all-dishes) affair. It’s easy enough to make enchiladas using a jar of sauce and a package of tortillas from the store but you know me! I wanted to make the whole thing from scratch. And when the government shuts down and I’m temporarily stuck at home, what better to do with my time than cook most of the day?
So this began sort of like my Crock Pot Mexican Chicken but with a few variations. I made a double batch of corn tortillas to start (16 in all). I think it’s probably easier to make this in a large pot on the stovetop but you could make it in the crock pot if you don’t want to babysit it. If you go the crock-pot route, you will, however, need to reduce the sauce on the stovetop. If you have some leftover cooked chicken, feel free to use that and save yourself one more step.
Once your ingredients are all ready, building the lasagna is a breeze. I even put a “refried” bean layer in the middle! Lots of cheese helps cool off the heat from the chipotle. Toasting the tortillas in a dry skillet or griddle keeps them from getting too soggy in the casserole. In a 9″ square dish, this looks small but man, is it dense. It will easily serve 6, even if your boyfriend, who ran 8 miles that afternoon, goes back for a second piece.
And as always, I recommend you serve with guacamole.
Mexican LasagnaTakes one furloughed afternoon, less if you already have tortillas made &/or cooked chicken. Yields 6+ servings.
For the sauce:
- 1 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped (or one 28-oz can)
- 1 28-oz can tomatillos, drained and roughly chopped (save the juices)
- 2-4 canned chipotles in adobo sauce (I used 4)
- 1 tsp each: cumin and garlic powder
- A hearty dash of oregano, cayenne powder, salt and pepper (if using canned tomatoes and tomatillos, consider omitting the salt)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (preferably organic)
- 1 green bell pepper, 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red, all sliced into strips
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz cheese, shredded (I used Monterey Jack; cheddar would also be good)
- 16 corn tortillas, toasted in a dry skillet for a minute or so on each side to dry them out a bit
- Garnish: Chopped cilantro
- Combine all sauce ingredients in sauce pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about an hour.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Return to a simmer. Add pepper strips, onion and chicken breasts, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Remove peppers, onions and chicken. Return the sauce to a low boil (no lid) and let it reduce by about a third, stirring occasionally.
- Set peppers and onions aside. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. Set aside.
- Puree the pinto beans with the olive oil. You want them to be a spreadable consistency, so add a tablespoon of water at a time if necessary. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin powder if desired.
- Once sauce is thickened, add about 3/4 cup or so to shredded chicken and toss to coat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of your casserole dish. Place 4 tortillas in the bottom. Top with a thin layer of sauce, then with a thin layer of chicken, peppers/onions, and cheese. Add another layer of 4 tortillas, this time topping with bean puree and cheese. Add another layer of tortillas, sauce, chicken, veggies, and cheese. Top with last 4 tortillas, more sauce, and the last of the cheese. As you build, press gently on the layers to even them out so you don’t wind up with a mountain in the middle.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Top with cilantro.