by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Sunday, September 15, 2013
Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole
So yes, when I was a kid...a teenager, probably...my mom made this dish that was absolutely out-of-this-world. But she didn't make it that often. It was, for all intents and purposes, a tortilla casserole. I remember it having green chiles in it. And I remember wishing that she would make it more often. But it just sort of faded away.
One of my sisters and I used to talk about this dish endlessly about 10 years ago. You see, my mom barely remembers it and has no idea where the recipe went (she was always one to use a recipe back then). Or where it came from in the first place. So, while mom shook out her cookbooks in search of a scrap of paper with the recipe written on it, we scoured the internet in hopes of finding something that sounded close.
We failed miserably. My mom has a bad memory for stuff like that. And let's just say, it runs in the family. Every once in a while, an email would volley between my sister and I (Is this close? This one sounds good! Maybe this?). To this day, that recipe remains a mystery.
It shouldn't be that hard. I'm pretty handy in the kitchen. But nothing has ever measured up to that memory...to that dish that, though we only ate it a few times over the course of a few years, was a favorite of both of ours. Maybe the expectations were just too high. Maybe it wasn't the dish alone, but the memory of all still being together as a family around the table (I am the oldest of four kids, and my parents were still together back then), the memory of seeing my mom cooking a meal from scratch in the kitchen while we peered through the kitchen door from the table as we set it.
That said, I did try to come up with something close. I sense the wheel turning against the flint, but it wasn't enough to cause a spark. Sigh. It's good, though! But I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board in what could be a never-ending quest.
- Tip: Get the whole family involved in making dinner (or any meal)! From measuring to stirring, chopping to weighing, picking the meal to setting the table - this teaches teamwork, and generates discussion. You'll have successes, and you'll have failures - but no matter what, you'll have spent time together. Keep a notebook in the kitchen for recipes that you've made...let everybody add notes or drawings about either the cooking process, or how they liked it. This will be treasured for generations to come.
- 1 pound chicken breast - poached & shredded
- 7 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2-1/3 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 small-medium (scant pound) Anaheim chiles - roasted,seeded, skinned, & diced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 20 (6-inch) corn tortillas (white or yellow), cut into sixths
- 8 ounces Quesedilla or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.