While normally I would say that I'm not a huge fan of casseroles, this one wins a thumbs up from me. Cans of cream of whatever soup, overcooked meat, mushy noodles, tons of cheese (ok well that part does sound good to me)... just not my thing.
I actually made this for my brother-in-law and mom when I was visiting my sister when she had surgery earlier in the month. I made it again for Joey this week, and he was a huge fan as well. Supposedly it serves 2, but I really think it makes enough for 3, even 4, especially if you also serve a salad or some rice and beans.
I love that it uses tortilla chips, and cooks them in batches. The first half goes in with some chicken broth and chicken while it cooks; the remainder is then mixed in and remains nice and crispy. I like to use the multigrain chips because I think they have more flavor and texture. Another hit from Cook's Illustrated, and another use for my new favorite, chipotle peppers.
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 shallot, minced (about 3 Tablespoons)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I use 1 pepper)
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 5 cups tortilla chips, broken into pieces
- 1 tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (1 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a 10-inch oven safe skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the chicken and cook on both sides until golden-brown, 5-7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining oil, shallot, garlic, chipotle, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and scrape of browned bits, and bring to a simmer.
Stir in half the tortilla chips. Nestle the chicken into the broth and cook over medium low heat until cooked through (reading 160 on a thermometer), about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces.
Return the shredded chicken to the skillet with the tomato, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1 Tablespoon of the cilantro. Stir in the other half of the tortilla chips until they are incorporated and moistened.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and broil until the cheese is melted and browning, 2-3 minutes. Top with remaining cilantro and serve, allowing casserole to cool 5 minutes.