Last weekend I attended my first ever hatch green chile pepper roasting party. You may ask, “what’s a Hatch green chile, Michele?” Good question. Hatch green chiles are chile peppers cultivated in and around Hatch, New Mexico. The peppers can range from mild to extra hot on the Scoville index. The harvest season lasts the length of September. Our cookbook author/food blogger friends, R.B. and Mindy, hosted the roast.
The chile process begins with a skin blistering roast. The next step involves peeling with stem removal. Latex gloves are worn to protect the capsaicin from burning the peeler’s skin. The final step involves a quick purée with ziploc packaging. If you ask The Hubs what was the heat of the peppers we processed, he would say, “meh, mild to medium”. If you ask me, however, I will yell, “&#)$*@($*!! medium to hot”. After an hour of peeling, my hands were tingling through my gloves!
Min provided sustenance to fuel our peeling. We were served crackers with goat cheese and green chile chutney, and a tender, pulled beef brisket with Hatch chile pepper relish. Both were spicy good!
Green chiles can be used in, well, just about EVERYTHING. Since the roasting party, I’ve made a green chile omelette and now, this Enchilasagne. Trust me, I’m just getting started. If the Northern casserole had a baby with the Southwestern Hatch chile, Enchilasagne would be the end result. I thought I was super clever and had made this word/recipe up all on my own. After a quick google, however, I found many recipes for Enchilasagne. Apparently other people are just as clever as I am! I had previously made this recipe with canned green chiles. What a difference the fresh peppers made! Spicy and savory, with just a hint of smoke off the char of the grill; these peppers made for an awesome partner to my shredded chicken.
First things first, prepare your chicken. If you have a lot of time, go this route: grab 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Rinse, pat dry, and salt and pepper the heck out of the chicken breasts. Place in a preheated oven at 425F for 45-50 minutes, or until the skin is browned up and the internal temp of the breast reads 165F. If you have minimal time, you can take 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and boil them in a big pot of water for 20 minutes (boooo-ring). I prefer to roast because you set a timer, then walk away. Your home smells like you’ve been hard at work, roasting chickens all day. Plus, the skin renders a bit, lending great flavor and giving you extra juicy chicken.
You’ll also need either 2 cans of green chiles or a ziploc bag’s worth of Hatch chiles your friend so graciously roasted for you. A block of shredded Monterrey jack cheese, about 15 corn tortillas, taco seasoning, and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (reduced fat, if you are so inclined). Make your own taco seasoning. You’ll thank yourself.
Once your chicken has cooled, grab 2 forks and get to shredding.
Next, pour the cream of chicken soup, green chiles, chicken, and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning into a large saucepan. Mix well and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a casserole dish coated with non-stick spray, place a layer of tortilla shells, breaking in half if necessary to fit.
Next, layer your chicken mixture on top of the tortillas, then sprinkle a handful of Monterrey jack cheese. Repeat this process until all your chicken is used and your final layer is cheese. I managed 3 layers. Bake covered with foil at 350 for 45 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, remove the foil so the cheese can brown. I used my broiler for 2 minutes to get a really deep brown.
I served my enchilasagne with pico-mole (basically homemade pico with avacado mixed in) and cilantro lime yogurt.
For the pico-mole, chop up tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic, and an avocado. Squeeze in half a lime, hit it with some salt and pepper, and mix well. You can also add a jalapeño, but I wanted this picomole to cool my tongue after eating the spicy Hatch peppers in the Enchilasagne.
You loved ones will thank you for Enchilasagne!
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45 Minutes
Print This Recipe!
Serves: 6 People
- 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup, reduced fat & sodium
- 10 oz (2 small cans) of green chile peppers
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 2-3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
- 10-15 small corn tortillas
1. Preheat your oven to 425 F. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Line a baking sheet with foil and place chicken breasts on sheet. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and cook at 425 for 45-50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
2. While chicken is baking, prep the pico-mole. Chop onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and an avocado. Squeeze in lime and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
3. Remove chicken from oven and let cool. Reduce your oven temp to 350F. Once cooled, discard skin and bones (save for soup-making on another day?) and shred chicken using 2 forks.
4. In a large skillet, add the shredded chicken, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, chile peppers, and 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. Mix well and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes for flavors to meld.
5. Build your Enchilasagne. Coat a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Layer a base of tortilla shells, breaking them in half if necessary, to cover the bottom of the pan. Layer your chicken mixture over the tortillas. Finally, finish with a layer of cheese. Repeat this process until the chicken is all used and your final layer is cheese.
6. Bake covered with foil at 350F for 45 minutes. Remove foil for remaining 10 minutes so cheese browns well. Serve with pico-mole and a dollop of sour cream or cilantro-lime yogurt. (Mince a palmful of cilantro and mix into 1/2 cup of yogurt with half of a lime’s juice.)