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Cookbook : Entrees : Enchilada Casserole
by Dadical )
Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
Half a truckload of Cheese
Enchilada Sauce - usually one 15-16 oz can and one "big" can.
Sliced Black Olives - one 15-16 oz can should do
Diced Green Chilis - small can is plenty
This is real easy, but time consuming. I've made it many times and still haven't measured anything. The way it goes together the amounts will make themselves evident to you. Part of the amount issue will be the size of your pot. It cooks well in a Pyrex or ceramic baking dish, non-stick pot, or cast iron Dutch. I started making these outdoors in the Dutch oven on camping trips. Haven't tried stainless and don't intend to.
1)Boil some boneless/skinless chicken breasts *the night before* you bake the casserole. Cook them all the way through, but no more. Pull them out to cool when they're *this* close to done. They'll finish up while cooling.
2)Tear the cooled chicken breasts with the grain into strips about bigger around than a pencil but smaller than your pinky finger. For a pot like the picture in my profile use maybe 2-2.5 lb of chicken before cooking.
3)Put the torn chicken into a bowl and pour in some of your favorite enchilada sauce - just enough to cover the chicken once you mix it around a bit. Cover the bowl with its lid if it has one or with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until tomorrow.
This step is one where you make your choice for your audience. I like milder food. Some of my friends like spicier food. For them I soak the chicken overnight in a medium or spicy sauce while making the rest of the dish in mild sauce. If you're a fire breather you can spice up the whole thing as much as you want, but consider having some sour cream on hand when serving.
4)Now the work begins. A note up front: SAVE THE OLIVE WATER. When you open the can of olives pour the whole thing into a bowl or spoon out what you need as you go, but don't pour the water down the sink.
Open a large can of enchilada sauce and pour some into a flat bottomed round dish that's a little bigger than a corn tortilla. You'll need plenty of tortillas. Buy a four inch stack. If you have leftovers they're versatile and last pretty well. The casserole is built in layers. Each layer takes 4 tortillas in a pot the size in my profile pic. Fold three tortillas in half and break them. Dip the half moon pieces in the enchilada sauce and place them around the outside bottom of the pot. Then dip the remaining whole tortilla in the sauce and place it in the center of the pot. That's the bottom of each layer.
5)Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortillas. I use the bags of Mexican 4 cheese mix. Sargento seems to feel better coming out of the bag and has a richer smell than some others. About 4 oz. per layer, minimum. Add some sliced black olives and a *small* amount of diced green chilis. You want them present here and there, but not overpowering in the mix. Then add some chicken (see profile pic).
6)Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the pot is layered up either with as much food as you want or about an inch from the top. Add another layer of tortillas and a double dose of cheese. Top with olive slices per pic. (Be sure you saved some good olive slices for the top, not those broken ones)
7)By this point you've added enchilada sauce to the tortilla dipping dish a couple times. Pour the rest into the pot around the edges so it finds its way to the bottom. Do the same with the remainder of the can you opened for the chicken. Remember the olive water? Pour half of it around the edges. It makes up enough liquid for baking and adds a "what is that?" flavor that really works.
8)Put the covered pot in the oven @ 350 for about 45 min or 300 for an hour depending on what else you have to do. Check it. If it's still seriously bubbling and hasn't started browning on top, it's not done. Take off the top and continue baking until browned per pic and just bubbling around the edges.
9)This stuff is HOT! Take it out of the oven and make everybody suffer with being able to smell it while they're still hungry. Let it cool a while and serve.
Sorry for the sketchy measurements. It's kind of a feel thing. If your first run is thicker or thinner than your vision, adjust liquid accordingly. This dish is a hit or I wouldn't keep making it.
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