I Made a Casserole, and I Liked It
You heard me–the hater of all things creamy, gloopy, mixed together, and baked–actually cooked a casserole. And loved it.
It’s a New Mexican dish and it includes no cream o anything, so those of you from the Midwest may feel free to scoff at me at any point. But this, is as close to a real casserole as I’m getting. It made Mr. Alfa, who has an unnatural love of casseroles for a man from Brooklyn, immensely happy. Which translates to: It had chicken. It was creamy. It wasn’t spicy. And it was plentiful.
A couple of notes before jumping into the recipe: I like spicy. I like chilis. I piled a bunch of pickled jalapeno slices on top of my serving. It was heavenly. If you’re not feeding the heat averse, add some diced jalapenos or serranos into the mix. Otherwise, pass the dish for people to add their own.
This is really rich, so serve it with just a simple salad.
White Chicken Chilaquiles
1 small can FF evaporated milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2-3 cups cooked cubed or shredded chicken
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 oz sliced mushrooms, either raw or sauteed (optional)
1 cup low fat sour cream
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 4-oz cans of diced green chilis
S&P to taste
1 medium white onion, chopped
8-10 corn tortillas, cut into strips cups tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or LF Mexican blend cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9 x12 casserole dish with olive oil spray.
2. If you know how to make a roux, add milk, and turn that into a bechamel sauce, just do it with the first three ingredients. If you don’t, follow step 2a.
2a. Melt the butter over medium heat in small saucepan, then add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil while whisking constantly, then lower the heat to simmer. When this bechamel (hey, now you know how to make a fancy French sauce) is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat and set aside.
3. Mix the cook chicken (I used breast meat that I sauteed in olive oil, then diced) with the black beans, mushrooms (I sauteed them; you could leave them out or substitute about 1 cup of corn), cilantro, green chilis, sour cream, and the bechamel you created in the Step 2/2a. Mix thoroughly. Add as much chicken broth as you need to thin it down to a loose consistency (not watery, but not really thick and gloopy).
4. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/2 the tortilla strips, followed by 1/2 the creamy chicken mixture, then 1/2 the raw onion, and 1/2 the cheese.
5. Do another layer of tortillas, followed by chickeny stuff, followed by onion, followed by cheese.
6. Bake this uncovered for 45ish minutes, or until it’s all bubbly and melty. Let sit about 5-10 minutes before serving, or risk burning your mouth to shreds.
Makes around 8 good-sized servings.