Last Updated on April 9, 2022
This layered chicken enchilada casserole is made easy by using the Instant Pot. Have it with the salsa that you will make as part of the recipe.
Using the Instant Pot
There are a few ways to make this casserole. You can buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket, you can use the two-minute/two-hour method, or you can make everything easy on yourself and use the Instant Pot. As an added bonus of using the Instant Pot, you get some very nice broth for soup or risotto.
Notice that the recipe calls for dehydrated onions and onion skins. There is a good reason for this. Even though the Instant Pot is quite large, fitting a chicken AND an onion is difficult, so using dehydrated onion and adding onion skins for color and flavor makes it a lot easier.
Don’t you hate it when you buy a head of garlic and some of the cloves are tiny? Save the tiny ones and use them in applications like this. Problem solved!
Making the Enchilada Sauce
Unless you want to go to the trouble of using cooking tomatillos, I recommend using your favorite green enchilada sauce. We like Casa Fiesta enchilada sauce which is available at your local supermarket or Amazon. You give it a bunch more flavor by using salsa made from charred chili peppers. You can control the heat and make it as spicy as you want.
Use an air fryer to char the skins of the chilis then put them in a covered bowl to cool so you can remove the skins. Surprisingly, a shower cap makes a great cover for your bowls – they fit almost any bowl and are reusable.
I highly recommend using gloves when you work with chilis. The oil from the chilis will be absorbed by your skin and you will have hot fingers for a few hours if you don’t. Always be extra careful with chilis, your fingers, and your face and eyes.
If you like your salsa very spicy, don’t remove the seeds and pith. Not so spicy, remove the pith, where the heat is, and the seeds.
You will not use all the salsa for this, only about three tablespoons, so save the rest for chips, or you can use it to make Spicy Healthy Meatloaf.
Tortillas – No Oil Required
Enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas. Corn tortillas hold up better than flour tortillas and have more flavor. They are also a godsend for gluten-intolerant folks. The problem with corn tortillas, unless you’ve made them freshly at home, is that they break easily if they are not heated first. The traditional way of doing this is heating them in oil or spraying them with oil and heating them in the oven. We’re not going to do this, no oil is required.
Even though these tortillas are not going to be rolled, it’s still nice to have them a bit charred. The best way to do this is on a gas stovetop, but if you don’t have that, you could use a cast-iron skillet heated up – no oil required. To use the stovetop, light the burner and using long tongs, hold the tortilla over the flame for a few seconds to char it on both sides. For a cast-iron skillet, heat the skillet then add a tortilla. Using long tongs, flip the tortilla on both sides until it’s charred a little bit then remove it.
If you really don’t like spicy food, you can substitute green bell peppers for the chili peppers, omit the chipotle pepper, and substitute cream of chicken soup for the enchilada sauce. If you are concerned about calories, you can omit the cream and use more broth. You will probably not use all the cheese, and you can substitute jack for the Colby if you want.
Chicken Enchilda Casserole Recipe
~~ For the Chicken ~~
- 1 Chicken
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1 onion skin
- 2 cloves garlic, broken up
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 bay leaves
~~ For the Sauce ~~
- 2 Pasilla Chilies, charred and peeled
- 1 red jalapeno, charred and peeled
- 1 onion, (save the root and skin for the chicken)
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- ½ cup cream, or half and half
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 10 oz can Green enchilada sauce
~~ Assembly ~~
- 6 corn tortillas, toasted
- 1 pound colby jack cheese, shredded
- 1 cup monterey jack, shredded and loosely packed
- 1 cup medium cheddar, shredded and loosely packed
Prepare the chicken
- Remove the neck and gizzards from the chicken and give them to your pet.
- 1 Chicken, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 onion skin, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 2 bay leavesPut the chicken in the Instant Pot and fill the pot with water up to the fill line. Add the onion flakes, onion skins and root, garlic cloves, oregano, and bay leaves. Close the lid and put the Instant Pot to Pressure for 30 minutes. Use Natural Release. Let the chicken cool until it can be handled. Remove the skin and bones and break up the meat.
- Remove the chicken from the broth using tongs. Strain the broth and set it aside.
Make the Sauce
- 2 Pasilla Chilies, 1 red jalapeno, 1 onionPut the 2 pasilla chilies and the jalapeno in the air fryer at 400°F / 204°C for 15 minutes. Then put them in a large bowl and cover the bowl well so the skins can steam off. A shower cap is a good thing to use. Let them sit for about half an hour then remove the skins. If you want the sauce extra spicy, do not remove the pith or seeds, otherwise, remove the pith and seeds.
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1 onionPut the chilis and the onion in a food processor and process until you have a nice paste. Set the salsa aside. You only need about 3 tablespoons of the salsa, so save the rest for chips or another use.
- 1/2 cup cream, 1 10 oz can Green enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup chicken brothEmpty the can of green enchilada sauce into a small pot and add 3 tablespoons of the salsa. Add the cream and chicken broth. Mix the sauce and sit it aside.
- Put the meat in a processor and process it until it is in small chunks. Set the chicken aside.
Prepare the tortillas
- 6 corn tortillasEven though these tortillas are not going to by rolled, it's still nice to have them a bit charred. The best way to do this is on a gas stove top, but if you don't have that, you could use a cast iron skillet heated up – no oil required. To use the stove top, light the burner and using long tongs, hold the tortilla over the flame for a few seconds to char it on both sides. For a cast iron skillet, heat the skillet then add a tortilla. Using long tongs, flip the tortilla on both sides until it's charred a little bit then remove it.
- 1 pound colby jack cheese, 1 cup monterey jack, 1 cup medium cheddarGrate the cheeses in the food processor and set them aside.
- Put a little of the sauce in the casserole.
- Put three of the tortillas in the casserole.
- Put half the chicken on top of the tortialls, spreading it out.
- Then put half the cheese over the chicken.
- Cover that with more of the sauce, then another layer of tortillas and chicken. Pour the remaining sauce over the casserole.
- Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake the casserole at 350°F / 176C° for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Remove it from the oven and let is rest for about 10 minutes untilt he molten cheese settles down. Enjoy!
2. You can use the remainder of the salsa that you don’t eat with chips for Spicy Healthy Meatloaf.
If you liked this, you might like the Ground Beef Enchilada casserole as well.