Chipotle Chicken Enchilada Casserole
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Here's another original. I came up with this recipe one day after seeing someone simmer chicken breast in canned enchilada sauce for something they were making. This is not Mexican cooking, but you might possible consider it Tex-Mex. Regardless of what you call it, everyone likes it and leftovers never last long.

I do have to give a nod to a restaurant in San Antonio, the Picante Grill, which serves a wonderful layered chicken tortilla dish with a chipotle sauce that they call Cacerola al Chipotle. This recipe is a mix of ideas from the internet, my brain, and this chicken dish.

3 large boneless skinless chicken breast
2 (14.5oz) cans Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 canned chipotle chile, minced very fine
1 1/2 tsp adobe sauce from the chipotle can

1 cup half and half
1/2 tbls butter (optional)
2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
1 small white onion (~ 1 cup), chopped
1 small package white corn tortillas
2 cups Monteray Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Add the enchilada sauce, garlic, salt and pepper to a deep sided skillet. Bring this to a low boil, and then reduce to a low simmer. Add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken about 15 minutes, or until the temperature just reaches 165 degrees. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

Add the chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce to sauce mixture, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the half and half and butter (if using), and stir until the butter is melted. Add the agave nectare (or honey), and simmer for 8 - 10 mintues. Taste, and adjusting the salt if needed. Keep the sauce warm on the stove.

Roughly shred the chicken breast in a bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chipotle cream sauce mixture.

Briefly saute the chopped onion until it just turns transparent (they should still be crisp). Remove from the heat and set aside.

Quickly fry each tortilla for a few seconds on each side in about 1/4 inch of oil, and then dip the tortilla into the chipolte cream sauce. Stack up the coated tortillas. (Do not skip this step of frying the tortillas, or the torillas will almost desolve in the casserole).

To assemble the casserole, start with a layer of the tortillas in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Cover these with a thin layer of chicken, followed by a sprinkling of the sauted onion. Next, lightly drizzle on the enchilada sauce (you do not want to complete cover the chicken). Top this with a thin layer of Monteray Jack cheese. Repeat these layers a second time, finishing with the chesse. Sprinkle on a final cheese layer using the cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and the cheese on top is melted, but not browned. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve.


Cliff Note: The agave nectar has become quite easy to find. I recently saw that Domino, the sugar company, is even marketing it now.