Chicken Enchilada Artichoke Casserole Recipe
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- 8 chicken thighs
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 13.75 oz. cans whole artichokes, cut into pieces of 8
- 2 10 oz.cans green enchilada sauce - medium
- 1 8 oz. container veggie cream cheese
- 1 8 oz. container cheddar jalapeno cream cheese
- 10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 10 oz. Monterery jack cheese, shredded
- 18 small corn tortillas
- Salt and pepper
- sour cream, for garnish
- Cook the Chicken - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet spread 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Roll the chicken thighs in the oil and when entirely covered, generously salt and pepper each side of the chicken. Place in pre-heated oven and cook for 25 minutes. When cooked, cut the chicken into 1 inch bite-sized pieces. HINTS: The chicken can be cooked ahead of time so it is cooled before cutting. If you can't cook the chicken ahead of time, use tongs to hold the hot chicken on the pan it cooked in to cut the chicken.
- Prepare the Remaining Ingredients - Chop the onions. Smash and dice the garlic. Cut the whole artichokes into 8 sections each (see photo). Shred the cheese. Place the cream cheese out so it is soft.
- Saute the Onions, Garlic and Artichokes - Put the remaining 2 Tablespoons in a large saute pan or skillet. Turn the heat to medium. When the pan is hot, place the garlic and onions in the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent (about 6 minutes). Add the artichoke sections, stir. Cook on medium for 5 more minutes.
- Add the chicken into the sauteed onion and artichoke mixture - Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces. Mix the chopped chicken into the artichoke, onion mixture. Saute on medium for 10 minutes.
- Prepare the Casserole Pan - Grease the bottom and sides of the 9" x 13" pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Spread one half of one of the cans of enchilada sauce (5 oz.) evenly over the bottom of the casserole pan.
- Prepare the First Layer of Tortillas - Spread 1/6th of the veggie cream cheese (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) evenly on each of the 6 bottom tortillas. HINT: This step will use up your entire container of veggie cream cheese, so distribute the cream cheese evenly. Place the tortillas evenly over the bottom of the casserole dish, on top of the enchilada sauce. You may need to overlap some of the tortilla edges that is fine.
- Add the Chicken, Onion and Artichoke Mixture - Spread 1/2 of the chicken, onion and artichoke mixture evenly over the tortilla and cream cheese layer.
- Add the Shredded Cheese and Enchilada Sauce - Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheddar cheese and 1/3 of the Monterey jack cheese over the chicken mixture. Pour the remaining half of the first can of enchilada sauce (5 oz.) over the cheese and chicken layer.
- Prepare the 2nd Layer of Tortillas - Spread 1/6 of the jalapeno cream cheese (about 1 1/2 tablespoon) evenly on each of the next 6 tortillas. Place the tortillas evenly over the first layer. There may be some overlap of the tortilla edges, that is fine.
- Add the Chicken, Onion and Artichoke Mixture - Spread the remaining mixture of chicken, onion and artichokes on top of the tortilla mixture. Be sure to drizzle any of the liquid from the pan over the casserole now.
- Add the Shredded Cheese and Enchilada Sauce - Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheddar cheese and 1/3 of the Monterey jack cheese over the chicken mixture. Pour 1/2 of the second can of enchilada sauce (5 oz) over the cheese and chicken layer.
- Prepare the Top Layer of the Tortillas - Place the remaining 6 tortillas evenly over the cheese and chicken layer. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheddar and Monterey jack cheese of top of the tortillas. Pour the remaining 1/2 of the second can (5 oz.) of enchilada sauce over the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered. HINT: place a cookie sheet under the casserole pan to catch any over-spills that may happen.
Soon These Ingredients Will be Transformed...
...and Will Become This!
Step 1 - Cook the Chicken
Step 2 - Prepare the Remaining Ingredients
Cut the Artichoke Hearts into Eight Pieces
Step 4 - Mix the Chicken Artichokes and Onions
Step 5 & 6
Steps 7 & 8
Step 9 - The Second Layer
Step 12 - Ready For The Oven
Tips for Making a Delicious Casserole
- Cook the chicken ahead of time so that it is cool when you cut it for assembly.
- I like to cut the chicken on the pan it cooked in and let it roll around in the chicken fat (okay probably not the healthiest idea, but it gives the chicken a nice added flavor).
- Be sure to use vegetable oil, olive oil (which I adore) will overwhelm the dish.
- Before assembling the casserole, set the cream cheese out on the counter to soften, it will make the spreading much easier.
- While I like to save time when I can, I like to use whole artichokes and then cut them instead of using pre-cut canned artichokes. Canned artichokes are already softer than the real thing and the whole artichokes tend to have a better texture after cutting than the pre-cut version.
- Talking about saving time...pre-shredded cheese can save a lot of time, or you can shred the cheese ahead of time and store in a ziplock baggie in the fridge until you are ready.
- Spray the casserole dish with a cooking spray or grease the pan.
- Once the casserole is cooked, let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes to let the casserole set-up.
- Regular Monterey cheese can replace the Monterey jack cheese if you like to take the spice down a little.
- If you are cooking for a very spice averse crowd - you can also substitute the jalapeno cream cheese with another package of veggie cream cheese.
What To Do With The Leftovers?
- This casserole is great as a leftover, it microwaves very well.
- I also like to freeze individual portions and then cut the wrapper off, then steam the frozen casserole for 5-8 minutes.
- Steaming it until it is warm creates a wonderful, moist dish.
- I like to make intentional leftovers - one extra pan for a neighbor or a friend who would love this comforting homemade food - it is easy to add one extra pan to the equation and make enough for all.
Making it Gluten-free
All of the ingredients used in this recipe are available in gluten-free options without compromising the recipe or requiring any modifications. Read the labels to make certain that your guests with sensitivities can eat this casserole safely.
Make It Your Own - New Modifications
This past weekend, I made this delicious casserole for family and some of the people coming to dinner do not like artichokes or corn tortillas so I mixed it up a bit. I made the traditional recipe and cooked in a separate pan the onions, garlic and chicken and added mushrooms and celery to give the casserole some crunch.
I used flour tortillas and cut them to fit in a small casserole pan. Everything else stayed the same and everyone was happy. The modifications did not impact the flavor and my picky eater was thrilled.
What modifications have you tried? I would love to know!