Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole

29 Jan

This time of year means I’m missing the milder temperatures down South a lot more. This hearty dinner is reminiscent of one of my favorite things to order at a Tex-Mex restaurant – sour cream chicken enchiladas. Simple and filling, it’s not hard to put together and will keep you warm and satisfied as snow and salt fill the streets outside. Personally, I would like a little less salt in the streets and a little more for my margarita, but – I’ll take what I can get!

This recipe is a lot like the Tex-Mex staple that can be found down South. As far as Tex-Mex food goes, I have read that it refers to an umbrella grouping of ‘Americanized’ Mexican food. And, more specifically, I remember reading on a Tex-Mex restaurant menu that it refers to the idea of ordering ‘combination plates’ as shown here, from Mia’s Restaurant in Dallas:
Grazing in The City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas - Tex Mex Menu

Mia's Tex Mex Restaurant

So what I made is a casserole version version featuring a rich, creamy and smooth sour cream sauce. Since Tex-Mex food is as regional as Mexican cuisine from which it derives, other versions of this feature more of a green, salsa verde-tomatilla-based sauce. Here’s how I made mine, with sour cream and lots of green chilis:
Start with chopping some onion and garlic and sautee them until transparent. Add some flour and mix it all through until it all becomes pasty and just starting to darken. Next, pour in some chicken stock and whisk it around until it begins to thicken up, which will take a few minutes. Then stir in sour cream and a bunch of green chilis – I used 3 of the small 4 oz cans, which I think some might consider a lot – you know how much I love green chilis, so feel free to use less here if you want. You can add squeeze in some fresh lime juice if you like. Stir more to incorporate everything and season with salt and pepper to your liking. This makes a super thick and rich ‘goopy’ sauce.
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas - Sour Cream Sauce

Sour Cream Sauce

If you haven’t made your chicken yet, you’ll want to get that cooked and shredded. You might want to just poach the meat and make quick work of it, but I tend to always sautee my chicken so I can season it up. I use boneless skinless a LOT, so I like to season it up as much as possible – as you all know, chicken breast can get bland real quick.
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas - Chicken

Sauteed Chicken

Next, you’ll want to steam up a stack of corn tortillas. One way I learned to do this is to dampen a dish towel and spread flat in a plate. You don’t have to soak the towel all the way through, just make sure it’s heavily damp – know what I mean? Lay the towel on a plate and set the stack of tortillas on the towel, and then cover them with the towel. Microwave on high for one minute and you should have perfectly steamed tortillas, ready to go.
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas - White Corn Tortillas

White Corn Tortillas

Now it’s time to layer the casserole. Spread a little of the white sauce in a 9×13 glass dish and then start with a layer of tortillas. Because your dish is more than likely square (or rectangular) and the tortillas are round, feel free to tear or cut the tortillas to better fit the dish. Top with 1/3 of chicken and some monterrey cheese. Feel free to use cheddar or pepper jack or whatever you like. Then top this with a layer of cheese. Repeat this to make 3-4 more layers, until everything is used up.
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas - Layered Casserole

Layering Up!

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until it’s browning on top and bubbling along the sides. I topped mine with diced tomatoes and cilantro – again, feel free to use jalapenos, some pico de gallo – maybe even some avocado slices. And that’s it – Aye, caramba!
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Grazing in the City - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
  • 12 white or yellow corn tortillas
  • oil
  • 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken meat (reserve stock)
  • 8 to 16 oz shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Green chile sauce (recipe follows)
  • sour cream
  1. Make green chile sauce (recipe below).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a large baking dish with Pam.
  3. Microwave tortillas in a stack in a damp paper towel or dish towel until softened – about 1 minute.
  4. Place one layer of tortillas in the dish which has a thin layer of sauce spread in it. Top with 1/3 of chicken meat and 1/3 of cheese. Spread 1/3 of sauce over it. Repeat to make 2nd and 3rd layers. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on top.
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes until heated through and bubbly.
Green Chili Sauce:
  1. Sautee chopped onion and garlic in a 1/3 cup oil until transparent.
  2. Add 1/3 cup flour and stir, until heated through and just starting to darken.
  3. Add 3 cups chicken stock and stir until thickened.
  4. Stir in 1 cup regular or low fat sour cream and 3 (4 oz) cans of chopped green chilis.
  5. Add salt to taste, a little more than you would like, as it will absorb into the tortillas.

8 Responses to “Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole”

  1. Eva January 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    That looks and sounds seriously delicious, Bill! Chicago has a number of excellent Mexican restaurants! We usually frequent at least one when we visit!

  2. thebigfatnoodle January 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Love the idea of this dish but when you say green chillies in Tina, are they jalopeno chilies or a different kind? Are they pickled cos I pickle my own medium chillies so I’m wondering if I could use them instead?

    • billpeeler January 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      Hi BFN, they’re not pickled, they’re roasted. They’re sold in small 4 oz cans here in the states and I’ve heard them referred to as ‘hatch’ chilies – although, I think hatch chilies refer to multiple varieties of smaller, milder peppers. I’m pretty sure they’re not jalapenos, serrano, poblano or anything like that. Hatch chilies are definitely they’re own thing. And I’ve only seen them as green and always mild. With that said, I think any roasted pepper would work well. Pickled would be great also, either with the roasted peppers or exclusively . . .

  3. Arturo Féliz-Camilo January 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    I like that idea a lot, but have not gotten myself to do it. Looks yummy!

  4. Sarah January 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Love the ingredients in these. Just like the chicken and white bean chilli from the other day, this is my kind of food. They look absolutely delicious. Wow.

    • billpeeler January 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      Thanks, Sarah – both dishes have really been quite enjoyable!

  5. Christine February 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    The vegetarian inside me just died a little — THIS LOOKS TOO DAMNED TASTY!!

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