Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchilada Casserole - with a homemade spicy sauce and lots of cheese. 400 calories. | pinchofyum.com #chicken #enchilada #casserole

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchilada Casserole

24 reviews / 4.8 average

Two words: roasted tomatillos.

Okay, fine, eight words: roasted tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños made into sauce.

It’s YAHHHMMMMY.

Roasted tomatillo chicken enchilada casserole is where it’s at. I’ve always loved a) casseroles – yahh shoore yoobetcha (Minnesota will do that to a girl), and b) chicken enchilada anything, so this little number is right up my food alley. I first got the idea for this — wait, you already know, don’t you? — yeah, it was from Bread and Wine, the book that I can’t stop talking about. The book version is really awesomely simple because it uses canned green enchilada sauce with chicken, cheese, tortillas, and the other usual suspects.

This version, my version, involves a teensy bit more work (essentially turning on the oven and pressing a button on the food processor), but I’m gonna get bossy right now: even if you are usually more of a canned enchilada sauce person, you haffa try it this way because I’m in charge and I said so. Also, because it tastes sososo good for your hungry mouth and it’s made from scratch and it makes you feel like an awesome person who roasts tomatillos like a pro.

How To Make Our Chicken Enchilada Casserole (1 MIN 5 SEC):

Tomatillos.

A few weeks ago we had a bit of a scare round these parts: my best friend had to have an emergency c-section at just 32 weeks along in her pregnancy. The good news is that she is fine and their sweet baby is out of the NICU and at home with them already, but we were all a little shaken up right after the whole ordeal, so I made the green chicken enchilada casserole from the book (um, actually, I made 1-2-3-4 pans of it) and Bjork and I delivered the mass amounts of enchilada yums to my friend and her husband to try to say we love you in a way that’s sometimes hard to put into words.

On that particular day, there was no roasting and pureeing of a sauce from scratch. This was more of a super efficient production line type of cooking, so I went straight from the book recipe and there was canned enchilada sauce involved and the whole thing was delicious. No regrets.

But.

When I went to the store to make this again for my blog friends (and maybe I was a tiny bit motivated by the prospect of getting to eat a whole ‘nother entire pan of this? just maybe, a little bit, cheeeeese) I happened to notice a huge stack of beautiful tomatillos in the produce section.

Roasted Tomatillos.

Okay, now just know this –> normally I shop at a very regular grocery store (convenience ranks above almost anything else in my life) which has one little bin dedicated to tomatillos, and on any given day there are anywhere from 3-5 sad, brown, soggy little guys sitting in the bottom of the bin waiting to be thrown in the garbage. Fresh, perky tomatillos are not a part of my normal grocery experience.

But on this special day, I was at a fancy-shmancy person grocery store picking up some shrimp, and as I wandered through the produce aisle to grab 800 bunches of cilantro (NEVER ENOUGH), there they were! – the cutest little tomatillos in all their delicate papery glory. Not soggy or browning in my regular grocery store fashion – but instead, a big hefty pile of perfectly round, firm, green tomatillos, with wonderfully light and crispy little wrappers.

Process of making chicken enchilada casserole.

I spent one second making the decision that I was going to be making that green, spicy sauce from scratch.

And it was a really, really good decision. I roasted those tomatillos with a few jalapeños right up in the mix, and I wrapped the garlic in foil and tossed it on the baking sheet, too, because why not? Party time. Thirty minutes to MAGIC, you guys. Once the roasty part was done, the whole thing (including spicy jalapeños with seeds because some like it haute) was whirred up in the food processor, and the browned roasted bits and the chunkiness of the tomatillos throughout the sauce – whoa yes. The sauce had incredible texture and really tangy, spicy, roasty-delicious flavor that was just begging to get cozy with melted cheese, chicken, and tortillas.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole in a dish and topped with cheese.

Once the sauce is all set, I put together a few layers of flour tortillas dipped in water for extra-soft-numminess (corn is usually my go-to but something about flour makes this all the more homey and soft and perfect) and topped them with generous scoops of homemade roasted tomatillo magic verde sauce, shredded chicken, and white melty cheese. There was no rolling – see above note about convenience ranking above almost all else in my life – and almost the entire recipe was hands-off, even though the sauce is made from scratch. That is my kinda recipe right there.

I will say – in hindsight, I wish I would have piled some bright red tomatoes on top or something because the white-ish-yellow-ish super saucy and cheesy pan with specks of green everywhere isn’t necessarily the camera’s best friend. But friends. Let’s be real: me trying to do anything with a ooey gooey spicy cheesy pan of this right in front of my face = a completely lost cause anyway. Five bites, one picture. Nine bites, one picture. And then half the pan was gone and HOW DID THAT HAPPEN.

Tomatillo time for you!

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchilada Casserole in a dish.
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Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchilada Casserole in casserole dish.

Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchilada Casserole


  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

This Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Enchilada Casserole is made with a homemade roasted tomatilo, jalapeño, and garlic sauce. New fav!


Ingredients

Scale

For the sauce:

  • 15 tomatillos, paper removed
  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed green onions (green parts)
  • up to 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (SEE NOTES)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the casserole:

  • 6 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. SAUCE: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tomatillos and jalapeño peppers on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Wrap the garlic cloves up in a small piece of foil, drizzling the with a bit of oil as well before you wrap it up. Place the foil garlic packet on the baking sheet with the tomatillos. Roast for 15 minutes – stir once to prevent burning, and roast for another 15 minutes. Unwrap the foil and transfer the roasted garlic, tomatillos, and jalapeños to a food processor. Add the cilantro and green onions. Pulse until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the broth, sour cream, and oil.
  2. CHICKEN: While the sauce is roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the chicken, turn heat off, and cover tightly. Let rest for 30 minutes. This will poach the chicken – it should be cooked by the time the sauce is done. When it’s done, shred the chicken and reserve the water.
  3. ASSEMBLE: Dip a tortilla in the hot water from step two until it’s very soft. Lay it on the bottom of a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Cut the next tortilla in half, dip the halves in the water, and place them in the corners of the pan. Layer with half of the chicken, one third of the sauce, and one third of the cheese. Repeat layers. End with a final layer of tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  4. BAKE: Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly – I’d put a pan underneath to catch sauce drips. Sprinkle with extra cilantro before serving.

Notes

Based on some of the comments and another round of testing, I’d suggest just eyeballing the amount of broth instead of adding all of it right away. You want the consistency of the sauce to fall somewhere between a thick and chunky salsa verde and an enchilada sauce.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: enchilada casserole, chicken enchilada, tomatillos, chicken recipe

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Dogs looking at food.

PS. I made and shot this recipe at HOME home, like, my parents’ house, because of that one thing called I Don’t Have A Kitchen Right Now (hello remodel), and the perks of working from HOME home include having two special friend helpers with every single thing that I do in the kitchen. These two are the cutest little doggie duo ever, and naturally, they love love love roasted tomatillo chicken enchilada casserole. Makes me think we need to get a dog, cat, or sommmething furry and cute ASAP. Bjork? Hello? Are you there?

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148 Comments

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          We haven’t tried prepping assembling this ahead of time, Ruth, but if you do, we’d doing steps 1 and 2 in advance and assembling the casserole the day you bake it. Let us know how this goes for you! 🙂

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Perfect timing…we have tomatillos coming out of ears (well from our garden)! Sounds and looks delicious. I know what we will be making this weekend.
    P.S.
    It was fun seeing you guys at Central yesterday. You were busy talking with people, otherwise I would have introduced myself. 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      How fun! And I am so stunned – you were at Central?! It would have been so fun to meet you! We were kind of surprised that we got a special little intro from Paul. Hahaha. 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Abbie Rose

    Oh, Lindsay, yes, yes! Do it! Get yourselves a furry companion…although maybe after the remodel is done. 🙂 I can’t imagine living without a dog (especially to eat the crumbs), but any little buddy would do! Of course, I am an animal person…
    And oh my, does this sound SO GOOD! Again! The first thing I said when I saw the pictures was, “Yum!” In my world, this baby doesn’t need any extra color…it looks delectable just as it is!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I knooow! I want a pet as bad as a 12 year old. I’ve always been a dog person but yesterday I got this idea: CAT?!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love casseroles and this looks perfect. Like a warm, fresh, comfort-food hug in a baking dish. That sounds crazy. But this is beautiful and I am so excited to make it.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m always looking for more tomatillo recipes because my hubby looooves them, and I love casseroles so this recipe is perfect for us! I bet your friends absolutely loved this 🙂

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Glad your friend/baby are doing well, and how wonderful of you to make them this amazing dish. And you definitely need to pursue Bjork about the whole furry & cute critter thing — just ain’t home without one!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I just got back from Dallas and am pining for all that Tex Mex–looks like this could help be the answer! We don’t do a ton of chicken, but I’m thinking white beans could make an excellent, same color substitute. And kudos on the out-of-you-normal-habitat photography–for what looks like a small setup these are still awesome shots!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Brooke W.

    What kind of tortillas would you recommend for this? Flour or Corn? Small or Large? Just want to make sure I have enough to cover the pan!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Brooke W.

        I had already stuck the casserole in the oven before I read your reply, so I can attest that it is still delicious even with corn tortillas!






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m very glad to hear (or rather read) that your friend and her baby are doing well!! No parents should have to go through such a hard time. You’re an amazing friend to support them in such a difficult time!

    The casserole looks very nice, I love anything enchilada too! And the lack if color? All the cheese definitely makes up for that!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Susan

    Canned enchilada sauce??? It has never sounded the least appetizing to me. So I’m delighted to see the one you made. This dish is definitely on my make it list. I’ve been wanting a recipe like this, and yours not only sounds drool-worthy, it also fits my nutritional desires/requirements perfectly. It’s on next week’s menu plan for sure. I send my blessing to your parents for letting you use their kitchen. 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Susan

      Made this for lunch today, and did you ever nail the salsa verde! I’ve learned a lesson scrolling through this blog: check out the pictures closely. Had I done so I would not have roasted chiles whole. The result was that I couldn’t get all the seeds and ribs out, and the dish came out a touch hot. I think I would add less broth to the sauce next time, because when I went to serve the casserole, it was very soupy. But this dish is now going to be on my regular rotation to make. (I ended up using my homemade mesquite/whole wheat tortillas, which also added a nice flavor to the dish.) Thanks for a great recipe!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Susan

          And now that I’m reading your comforting casseroles recipes, I’m happy to say that I’ve got a whole big pan full of this in my fridge, which will be lunch today. Yum! This may be my favorite recipe that I found in 2014.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    A friend of mine just had a baby too – not an emergency C-section before sched – and this week I was thinking of dropping of a casserole and I am thinking this would be a fabulous idea as her husband is ALL about the enchiladas!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kristy

    Lindsay,

    We just flew in last night and after three meals of cereal and oatmeal, I came across this and took it as a sign that it should be dinner (but I made it with smoked chicken from the grocery store b/c that seemed like an easier transition to real life). It was super tasty, even my hubby who usually requires coaxing to give feedback said without prompting that it was tasty.

    A couple of question though: so I have never actually cooked with tomatillos before (I cheated and bought tomatillo salsa to make the squash tomatillo tacos last year), so how big are the tomatillos that you use? at the store here they ranged from a little bigger than a cherry tomato to fist size. Also, when they explode and leak all their juice on the pan do you add those drippings to the sauce or do you just use the tomatillo ‘meat’. My sauce turned out super bright green (as in I had to promise hubby there wasn’t any kale in it), too much cilantro?

    I had a half cup too much sauce so I served it with chips while the casserole was baking, yum!

    All in all a great new recipie that I look forward to adding to my rotation. Thanks!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I love hearing that Kristy! And great questions. I think the bright green is probably coming from the cilantro. I used about 1/2 cup chopped. The tomatillos are medium sized – like a small tomato. Not as small as a cherry tomato, but not as big as my fist. And I did use most of the juices! 🙂

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Jannalee

        Lindsay, I love your site and I love your recipes. Last summer a friend dropped off two 5-gallon containers of cherry tomato-sized tomatillos. I had never eaten them, I’m ashamed to say! I spent hours prepping them and getting them into gallon freezer bags and probably have 12 of these calling me to get busy! I LOVE them and I have made chili Verde several times along with bright and zippy salsa at every opportunity.

        My question for you is at the cherry tomato-tomatillo size, can you tell me the weight of your 15 tomatillos? Thanks for all you do!!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          Hi, Jannalee! All those fresh tomatillos sound amazing! We unfortunately did not weigh our tomatillos, so it’s hard for us to give a number here. Enjoy the casserole!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Renee

    So glad your friends baby is ok! Having a baby in the NICU is so scary (I know from experience), and I’m sure a warm cheesy meal they didn’t have to think about was wonderful.
    In my neck of MN we called them “hot-dish” but man, did we eat a LOT of them! I don’t think any of our hot-dishes were as good as this looks! (Well, maybe the tater-tot one).
    Another awesome recipe & I must read Bread & wine!