Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

28
59870

Chile Legacy in the Southwest

People in the southwest have been growing chiles (Capsicum annuum) for at least four centuries. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, pueblo indians grew chile with seed procurred from Mexican tribes via trade. Each pueblo continues to cultivate their own peppers. Each has a distinct pungency, sweetness, taste, and heat. For example, the Zia Pueblo pepper has a bitter-sweet flavor when it matures. Chimayo’s red chile is legendary, though smaller than other red chile varieties.

New Mexico chile (or New Mexican chile) is a group of cultivars developed by pioneer horticulturist Fabián Garcia at New Mexico State University in 1894, then known as the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Dr. Garcia’s selective breeding began with 14 lineages of ‘Pasilla’, ‘Colorado’, and ‘Negro’ cultivars, from across New Mexico and Southern Colorado’s old Hispano and Puebloan communities. His initial variety became quite popular in California and became known as the Anaheim pepper due to the popularity of the crop in that region. However, the seed was developed in New Mexico. Anaheim chile was the predecessor of many strains developed based on Garcia’s research; some hotter, some more disease tolerant or drought tolerant, some bigger.

Hatch Chile FestivalHatch Chile

For New Mexicans chile is synonymous with good food, home and family, which is appropriate, because that ultimately characterizes Hatch as a community. It’s a small town, with long-standing agricultural roots, where neighbors know one another and farming is a way of life. Chile isn’t the only thing they grow in Hatch, but it is what has put the town on the map. The sandy loam soil along the banks of the Rio Grande, and New Mexico’s hot, arid climate make for a fiery, flavorful fruit.

Hatch green chile is recognized by foodies and culinary aficionados around the world. Often the term is used as if it is a variety of chile. That isn’t accurate. The farmers around Hatch grow numerous varieties of chile, varying in potency from mildly spicy to wildly hot. They take pride in the piquancy of their peppers, declaring themselves the “chile capital of the world.”

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada casserole is comfort food. This recipe is based on the method I learned from my grandmother, the best cook I’ve ever known and a green chile connoisseur.

Green chile chicken enchiladasServings: 6 – 8, depending on portion size

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken, roasted for flavor
  • 12 corn tortillas, white or yellow
  • Grapeseed or sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 can of Swanson’s chicken broth
  • 1 cup roasted and peeled green chile, chopped (available online from Hatch Chile Store)
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (you can make your own if you have time to go gourmet)
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar and 1 cup of Monterey jack cheese, mixed together (feel free to vary cheeses based on preference)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Sauté the garlic and onions in a teaspoon of olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat the grapeseed or sunflower oil in the same skillet until smoking. Briefly fry each corn tortilla for 3-4 seconds per side, to make them more pliable. Put a layer of the corn tortillas in a baking pan.
  4. Mix the shredded chicken, the chopped green chile (available online at the Hatch Chile Store), the cream of chicken soup, the chicken broth, the chopped green onions, the garlic/sauteed onion together in a bowl. Then spread a layer across the corn tortillas in the pan. Top with a layer of shredded cheese.
  5. Repeat the layers two or three more times. Top with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden and the smell of the chile is wafting through your kitchen. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, and serve.

Please leave your recipe modifications, or any questions that you may have, in the comments.

Back to Recipes

Need Chile?

If you live in an area where the only green chile available is canned, you can order outstanding frozen green chile from the Hatch Chile Store. Hatch Chile Store ships frozen red and green chile nationwide year around. They have mild to hot varieties available and sell whole green chile as well as chopped. Each package is 1 pound, which is approximately 2 cups.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Need to try out this recipe and like the idea of freezing it unbaked to have ready as needed. Do you bake it from frozen and if so, how long? Or if brought to room temperature, how long does that take? Expecting company and need to be on point with the food – thanks so much!

    • I don’t thaw it prior to baking. I bake it about 40-45…long enough to be hot all the way through and brown the top a bit. I leave it covered until the last 15-20 minutes so the cheese on top doesn’t burn. It is great in terms of prepping ahead of time, pulling it out and baking it as needed.

  2. I microwave my corn tortillas with a splash of water in a ziplock. 5 at a time. I also use cream of mushroom too & use Velveeta as my cheese. I love green Chile chicken enchiladas!!! I’m fortunate to live where I can buy fresh green Chile, roast, peel & have a years supply

  3. I microwave my corn tortillas with a splash of water in a ziplock. 5 at a time. I also use cream of mushroom too & use Velveeta as my cheese. I love green Chile chicken enchiladas!!! I’m fortunate to live where I can buy fresh green Chile, roast, peel & have a years supply

  4. I actually don’t fry my corn tortillas. If you spread a very very thin layer of the chicken mixture on the bottom, the tortillas won’t stick. Also, I use 1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken with Herbs and one of Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic. I sometimes use red Chile sauce instead of green Chile. My enchiladas are always a hit.

  5. That is similar to what I make. I do not use the chicken broth, I use milk. I also add sour cream to the soup mixture along with the remaining ingredients and use the Walmart Fiesta cheese between layers and on top.

    I have also made a Corn Soup by using the same mixture, minus the chicken and add fresh corn cut off the cob.

  6. I just made this tonight. I received my shipment of Hatch chilis last week and was raring to go! First of all, I had to settle for packaged Chi Chi’s white corn tortillas. And I didn’t roast my chicken. I only had skinless/boneless breasts. I stewed two medium sized breasts in water with 1 tsp chili powder & 1 tsp McCormick’s perfect Pinch Mexican seasoning and 1 heaping tsp Better than Bouillon roasted chicken paste. Once done, I shredded the meat for a little bit over 2 cups of chicken. I also added 1/4 cup of the broth to the filling mix.
    I also went over the 1 1/2 cups of cheese… but when you are talking cheese, who’s counting? Right?
    My wife requested that this dish be added to our favorite recipes.

  7. I inherited a recipe similar from my Arizona mother in law. This makes much more sense. I lived in NM for 1 glorious year and learned to make green chile stew there. I buy 50 pounds of Hatch every year, and roast them in my chile roaster like those on the street corners. I totally agree on using roast chicken! makes a difference. I’m back home now in Columbus Ohio. Teaching these buckeyes a thing or two.

  8. Have you ever made it a day ahead and baked the next day? Or made it and frozen it? Just wondering. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

    • Yes. I put a few smaller square casseroles together, freeze it, tap it out of the pan, shrink wrap, and put it back in the pan when I am ready to heat it up. Works perfectly. Also uses up the entire roasted chicken if I make more than one batch at a time.

  9. I learned a recipe like this when I lived in NM. We also add another layer…sour cream with shredded cheese and some finely chopped onions all mixed together. (Tortilla on bottom, chicken mixture on top, sour cream mixture on top, layer it up several times). Loose grated cheese on tithe very top and an over easy fried egg. I often make this as a casserole when there are lots of people, but mostly I make individual plates (use pasta plates for more juice). Flat enchiladas are the only way to go! Garnish with fresh pintos, salad and guacamole, YUMMY!!! (Sharp cheddar cheese only for our family!) one more note: for a quick cheat, use left over Turkey from thanksgiving or buy a rotisery checken if in a hurry!

  10. I sauté the onions, peppers,in large skillet then add chicken for 4-5 minutes then add cream of chicken soup simmer then pour over tortilla in 9×12 baking dish in two layers and top with cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 300 for 30 minutes, remove foil and allow cheese to brown

  11. I presume the sautéd onion and garlic are thrown in the mixture too? No mention of them after setting them aside. This reminds me of growing up in SE AZ. Great flavors.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here