Monday, July 16, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Someone recently asked Joey if he wished I repeated recipes more often.  Being the loyal husband that he is, he of course said "no way, I love trying new things every night!"  Truthfully, I'm sure that he does tire a bit of me asking him every night, "What do you think?  Is it too spicy?  Bland?  Would you want me to make it again?  How's this picture?"  But he is my #1 fan and my biggest supporter in this blogging thing, so maybe he actually likes the constant questions during mealtime....

So while many meals don't get repeated very often no matter how much we liked them, this is one that is a regular in the rotation.  I've probably made it more than any other recipe on my blog.  If it looks familiar, then you must be a long-time reader!  I posted this back in the early days, but I thought it could use a little makeover.  

Casseroles sometimes have a bad reputation, and I can see why:  they oftentimes are full of sodium-packed convenience products, soggy meat, and lots of cheese (not that that's ever a bad thing in my book though).  This one however, bucks tradition.  First off, it's all made in one dish - less dishes to wash - score!  All of the ingredients are fresh and "real."  And it comes together in under 30 minutes.  The chicken is cooked perfectly, there's crunch from the tortilla chips, a hint of spice from the chipotle peppers, freshness from the tomatoes and cilantro, and of course there's still plenty of cheese.  Let's not go too crazy here.

Chicken is seared on both sides, then shallots, garlic, and chipotle peppers are briefly sautéed.  The chicken is returned to the pan, along with chicken broth and half the tortilla chips.  The chips pretty much dissolve into the broth, and the chicken stays nice and moist as it cooks.  The chicken is shredded and returned to the skillet, the remainder of the chips are then mixed in along with cilantro and tomatoes, and it's topped with plenty of cheese.  After a brief stint under the broiler, the cheese is melted, the top is crispy and crunchy, and you're left with one of my all-time favorite dinners.

Best of all, it's open to so so many adaptations.  I've added black beans and corn before in lieu of the chicken, subbed a jalapeño for the chipotle in a pinch, used some pico de gallo or fresh salsa instead of the tomatoes... really you can play around with this however you like and it will still be pretty darn tasty.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Cooking for Two

*if you don't have an oven-safe skillet, just transfer to a lightly-greased 9-inch square baking dish.
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • about 3 tablespoons minced shallot or red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 3/4 -2 cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups tortilla chips, broken into pieces
  • 1 tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar or Pepperjack cheese, 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, then bring to a simmer.

Stir in half the tortilla chips. Nestle the chicken into the broth and cook over medium 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 or chop into bite-sized pieces.

As the chicken cooks, preheat the broiler and adjust the oven rack to about 6 inches below the heating source.

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 browned, 2-3 minutes.   Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then top with remaining cilantro and serve.


The Lazy Housewife said...

I've been making this a long time, it's one of our favorites! It can also be doubled, although you have to transfer it to a casserole dish. Great blend of flavors!

Laura said...

Yum! This looks delicious. And the questions you ask your husband? Mine just laughed because I tend to ask similar ones :)

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I always do the same thing to my husband, but he enjoys being the official taste-tester. :-) I love casseroles like this one that are tasty and not laden with cream of soups!

Krissy said...

This has been on my to make list forever! I also had to giggle at the beginning of this post, glad I am not the only one who gives their husband the third degree at dinner every night ;)

Tina | My Life as a Mrs said...

Oh my word... this recipe has my name all over it! My husband would LOVE. IT.

Bev Weidner (Bev Cooks) said...

This is like my FAVORITE thing evar. In the world. And universe.

Anonymous said...

ohhhh yuum!! I'm bookmarking this recipe for a cool fall day, when all I want to do is sink into a dish of hot gooey yummyness ;)

Anonymous said...

I've yet to make this and I'm not sure why! It's going back in the recipe que! My husband always asks me,"Why do you ask me if I would want it again if you don't ever make repeats? :) The life of a blogger spouse!

Mrsblocko said...

Thewaytohisheart - my husband says the same thing!

Michelle said...

This is my favorite dish to make when we have a party and the next day I find an enormous bowl of tortilla chips that went stale overnight! I've made this with several variations, including once, when I only had 2.5 cups of tortilla chips, I used brown rice in place of the other half. Very adaptable and always a crowd pleaser.

Joanne said...

I don't think my boyfriend quite realizes I'm never going to make the dishes he has deemed his "favorite" ever again. I sense trouble when he does...

I love casseroles that give casseroles a good name!

Julie @ Table for Two said...

haha, completely agree with you! jason is my #1 supporter and i'm sure he's totally sick of me when i ask him "is this good? really? no seriously, you can tell me the truth" ...but in all seriousness, this looks awesome, Josie!! it's like a burrito thrown into a casserole, i love it!

Anonymous said...

A delicious-looking casserole! I am a fan of this one :) Bring on the chipotle peppers! love that addition.

Half Baked said...

My hubby is a casserole , not so much, but this is one I think we both could love!!! Thanks :)

Ana said...

Looks great! When you make this for your family is it enough or do you double? Just wondering if I should do single, 1.5, or double for 2 adults and one 2.5 year old since its from "cooking for two". Thanks for any advice!

Mary Ellen said...

This looks great, and looks like something I could cut in half and make in my small pan when I'm on my own for dinner!

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