Last night I made this beautiful Gluten Free Chicken Enchilada Casserole and boy oh boy was it good – I can’t wait for leftovers! Do you love Mexican food and casseroles as much as I do? When I combine the two, I am in heaven.
This chicken enchilada casserole has the flavors and ingredients that you would normally find in enchiladas, but it is deconstructed. You create layers of torn corn tortillas, chopped cooked chicken, shredded cheese, and a luscious sauce and then bake it. So simple. When I was at IFBC in Sacramento, we went to Mother Restaurant for dinner and had a delightful dish of Chile Colorado. They had sprinkled corn nuts over the top and I fell in love! They are a great way to add crunchy texture to otherwise fairly soft dishes. And bonus, they are gluten-free!
The first night I served this, it was hot from the oven and a bit soupy. I adjusted the recipe so yours will have less liquid. Once it cooled, it was more solid. With the resting, the tortillas absorbed more of the liquid. It was delicious both ways and would be great made ahead for a quick mid-week dinner.
I roasted two chickens a few days ago, one to serve for dinner that night and the other to use in this recipe. It is just as easy to roast two as it to cook one! Roasting chicken yourself saves a lot of money and is super simple. Think about doing this the next time you are planning on serving chicken for dinner and you’ll have meals for days.
If you roast whole chickens instead of using boneless pieces, you don’t have to pay for the butcher’s labor involved in breaking it down and deboning plus the meat is more tender, moist, and fully flavored. So much better. Save some money and buy a whole chicken for your next dinner. You’ll be delighted at how little work it is and so delicious!
The homemade cream of chicken soup was incredibly easy to make and tastes much better than the canned varieties. Once I added the ingredients to make the sauce for the casserole, it tastes like a creamy tomato soup. You can puree any cooked vegetables you like and stir the puree into the soup to bump up the flavor and create a “Cream of XX” soup. How fun! Because you are thickening milk with cornstarch, the soup has a lot less fat in it than regular creamy soups. And yes, you can use low fat (I wouldn’t recommend non-fat) milk. There’s no going back for me, I’ll be using this recipe all winter long for creamy, luscious homemade soups!
A fun and unusual topping is Corn Nuts (the original flavor is gluten-free!) which adds a wonderful crunchiness that is delightful. I would almost say they are addicting because I kept wanting to add more to my dish.
I hope you pull out your 9×13-inch pan soon and make this Chicken Enchilada Casserole for your family. I promise the aromas coming from the oven will bring everyone running, salivating as they wait for dinner to be ready!
Have a wonderful weekend – see you again next week for Chocolate Monday!
How to make Gluten-Free Chicken Enchilada Casserole:
- Oil a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside; combine the two cheeses and set aside
- Sauté the onions and carrots together in a saucepan; transfer to a bowl when softened
- In the same saucepan combine the soup, broth, tomatoes, cilantro, chiles, chile powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic
- Layer the torn tortillas, chicken, onions/carrots and cheese, repeating the layers and ending with cheese on the top
- Bake 45 to 60 minutes until bubbly, heated through, and the top has browned slightly; let rest 15 minutes after taking out of the oven
- Scoop into serving bowls, top with your favorite garnishes and serve
Once you are done breaking down the chicken, put the carcass and any extra bones, skin, fat, etc. in a tall stock pot. Cover it with fresh water, add a coarsely chopped onion, a few chopped carrots and celery stalks, some salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour or so. Voila! You have homemade chicken stock! You can use the tip below to freeze it for future meals.
How to Freeze Homemade Chicken Stock
Cool the stock, strain out the solids, ladle into resealable plastic bags and seal them with as little air as possible inside. Lay them flat on a baking sheet and slip the sheet into the freezer. When you freeze them this way, it is simple to stack them. Pull one or two out when you need stock for a recipe or to make soup. It’s delicious!
You can easily roast your own chicken or use a rotisserie chicken cooked by your local grocer. Here’s a trick for deboning chicken … Try to take the meat off the bones while it is still warm. It releases much more easily from the bones, making it a snap to do. If you are using a rotisserie chicken from the store, do the same thing. Wait until it is cool enough to handle comfortably and pull it apart. Then use a small paring knife to cut it away from any remaining bones and watch out for tough pieces of cartilage and toss them into a pot with the bones.
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses
- Cream of chicken soup (or make your own, recipe included) and chicken broth
- Onion, cilantro, mild chiles, chili powder, cumin, and garlic
- Corn tortillas
- Roasted or rotisserie chicken
- If making the cream of chicken soup … milk, cornstarch, butter, chicken base, and chopped cooked chicken
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links)
If you have to eat gluten-free like I do, I have included a homemade version of the canned soup called for in many recipes. Make the soup and cook the chicken a day or two ahead and it will be quick and easy to assemble this recipe when you are ready to bake and serve it.
As always, keep an eye on labels looking for hidden sources of gluten. Many corn tortillas and chicken soups include wheat, so be sure you get a gluten-free variety.
- Vegetable oil
- 1 cup (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (4 oz) grated Monterey Jack
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 (10-3/4 oz) cans cream of chicken soup (for gluten-free, make the homemade version below)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 oz) can (2 cups) chopped tomatoes, strained
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves or parsley
- 3 tbsp chopped mild green chiles
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 18 (8-inch) corn tortillas, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 (3 lb) roasted chicken, deboned and chopped
- Sour cream
- Minced chives or green onions
- Chopped cilantro or parsley
- Corn Nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil, being sure to coat the sides as well as the bottom. In a bowl, toss together the two cheeses and set aside.
- Place the chopped onions and carrots in a large saucepan with 1 tbsp of oil and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same saucepan stir together the soup, broth, tomatoes, cilantro, chiles, chile powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic. Warm over medium-low, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Put half of the tortilla pieces in the bottom of the prepared baking pan, top with 1/2 of the chicken and 1/2 of the onions. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mix. Pour 1/2 of the soup mixture over the top, and repeat the layers with the remaining tortilla pieces, remaining chicken, remaining onions, 1/3 of the cheese, and remaining soup mix. Finish with the remaining 1/3 of the cheese.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes, until heated through, the cheese has melted, and the top has browned slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Scoop into serving bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with chives and cilantro. Add some Corn Nuts if desired and serve with salsa on the side.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 660mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
- 2 cups cold milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tsp gluten-free chicken base, demi-glace, or chicken bouillon granules
- 1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
In a medium saucepan slowly add the cornstarch to the milk, whisking until fully dissolved with no lumps. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. (Watch out for hot splashing bubbles!) Pull off the heat and add the butter, demi-glace, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the butter is fully melted and the sauce is creamy and smooth. Stir in the chicken. Set aside if using immediately or cover and refrigerate for use in the next few days.
Variation: Add a 4 oz can of mushroom pieces, drained, in place of the chopped chicken and use vegetable base in place of the chicken stock to make cream of mushroom soup.
Adapted from a recipe on Gluten Intolerance Group
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 1145mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 12g
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