How I love chicken enchiladas. I almost can’t tell you how much I love them. It’s one of the few dishes where I will take seconds when offered. From my old Weight Watchers days, I guess that would make them a “red light” food, as in foods to avoid, because they trigger excess eating. Not much worry about that — I never made them, up until last week, I only enjoyed them at potlucks and other people’s houses.
You see, all the recipes I’ve seen for my favorite chicken enchiladas, up to this point, involved cream of chicken soup. With more than half of my family gluten free, and a couple of us very sensitive to MSG, well, you can see the problem.
(Yes, I’m aware that you can make your own gluten-free “cream of” whatever soup approximation. I just never got around to it in the case of this recipe.)
Last week, I was really wanting Mexican food. People in my family really aren’t that wild about that flavor profile. None of us likes cilantro, for example. Once in awhile I can get away with homemade tacos, or chips and salsa, or Spanish rice, or chili, and not hear too many complaints. But enchiladas? Nobody (but me) likes them.
I got reckless. I really wanted chicken enchiladas, you know, the kind laced with cheese and sour cream and no tomatoes. (I like tomatoes, but my favorite chicken enchiladas are not tomato-based.) I had leftover chicken I needed to use up. I didn’t want to make one of our standbys for using up cooked chicken, like Fried Rice or Chicken Salad or a number of other things. I went looking online for recipes, and found this. Amazing! The first recipe I saw, at least this time around, and doesn’t call for canned soup! With very little adapting, I made it gluten free and also hassle free. No need to stuff individual enchiladas and roll them up; this recipe works well as a layered casserole. So here goes:
Leftover cooked chicken, shredded or diced, as much as you want (I used a whole breast)
1 medium onion, chopped (I didn’t have any fresh onions so used 1/4 cup dried onions, sprinkled over the chicken-cheese layer)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use coconut oil for most cooking, and if I’d had fresh onion, I would have fried it in the oil until translucent, and mixed with the chicken before layering)
12 corn tortillas (we use non-GMO organic corn products)
1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese or 1 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour (gluten free flour mix works)
1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth (I used 2 cups homemade chicken stock)
1 cup sour cream (see the Daisy? No thickeners, just cultured cream)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
Grease casserole or spray with nonstick spray and lay down a layer of corn tortillas. It doesn’t have to be pretty — it’s going to be covered up by other ingredients.
I love my Pampered Chef clay lasagna pan. After much usage, it’s practically non-stick even without greasing. I think I wiped it with some olive oil on a paper towel before I added the tortillas, just to make sure.
Spread chicken and 3/4 cup of the cheese over tortilla layer.
(By the way, you can cook a chicken breast, cut it up and use it in this recipe, but I had leftover chicken. If I had an uncooked chicken breast, I might not have made this recipe…)
If you want to make them richer, you can add a dollop of sour cream on top of each tortilla. Lots more calories, though. Here you can see that I boosted the calorie intake for the family members that actually need more calories, by adding extra sour cream to two of the servings. Can you imagine needing more calories? Seems like a dream to me.
Top with another layer of corn tortillas. Six was the right number for my baking pan.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan; stir in flour to make a roux; stir and cook until bubbly; gradually whisk in chicken broth then bring to boiling, stirring frequently.
(Easy GF Flour Mix: 1 part brown rice flour, 1 part white rice flour, 1 part starch — I usually mix two starches, choosing from cornstarch, tapioca, or arrowroot. We can’t use potato starch, but that’s an option, too.)
Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and green chiles.
Pour sauce evenly over enchiladas.
Top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.
Baking dish may be double-wrapped and frozen at this point, if you’re using a foil dish perhaps. I can’t spare my Pampered Chef pan; I use it often. If I wanted to make this ahead and freeze it, I’d probably line the pan with parchment paper, assemble the dish, put it in the freezer, lift the whole thing out when frozen, and double wrap it. We avoid using aluminum foil as much as possible.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce near edges of baking dish is bubbly.
Yum. Even those of us who were indifferent to the delights of Mexican food liked this dish. Some (besides myself) even asked for seconds!
My very fussy eater managed to eat most of a portion.
I think this one is a keeper.