My gluten free sour cream chicken enchilada casserole is just the kind of no-fuss, no-frills comfort food we all need from time to time. Starting out south Louisiana sassified with the browned Cajun trinity and garlic, this easy weeknight recipe gets further jazzed up with tomatoes and green chiles. Layers of warm corn tortillas inject the dish with its stick-to-your-ribs sustenance, while the pan drippings-infused sour cream/cream cheese sauce turns the flavor all up to slightly spicy yum-delicious. Yep and yay…
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Gluten Free Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole Yields Big Flavors for Little Time Investment, Y’all
There are weeknights in my life that I’d rather do anything else under the sun than cook. No matter how much I love it, cooking is work. And well, sometimes by the time it’s time for me to cook, I’m just too worked out for the day to take on a major home cooking endeavor.
That said, I always want big flavors in my meals. And anything less than the flavors I’m looking for in an end-of-day dish puts me in funk for the night that I just can’t get out of. Nope.
Anyway, the other night I pulled out the last frozen pack of chicken breasts Mark and I scored on sale at our local grocery store. And instead of wanting to immediately marinate them after they defrosted, I decided to do something a little different this time.
So, I challenged myself to make an easy-ish weeknight chicken dinner with no long marinating time. And since we eat Cajun food almost every day of our lives, I also decided to go a little farther southwestern than usual for our nightly after-work meal.
Since I had both sour cream and corn tortillas on hand, I knew exactly what I was going to do to spice up our everyday eats. Gluten free sour cream chicken enchilada casserole it just had to be, y’all. And I couldn’t have been more excited about it at all…
How to Make Gluten Free Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole to Spice Up Your Next Weeknight Southwestern Craving
To start the gluten free sour cream chicken enchilada casserole, brown the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery in a cast iron skillet until about halfway caramelized. Then, add the chicken strips and continue cooking til the meat and veggies are browned. Add garlic, Rotel tomatoes and green chiles and fresh parsley and cilantro.
See all those delicious pan drippings in the skillet now? Super yum… Place a colander over a large glass bowl. Then, drain the chicken/veggie mixture over the colander. Shake gently until all of the pan liquids are released into the bowl. Then, pour the liquid into a Pyrex measuring cup. This is just for pouring convenience. If you don’t have one, just use the same bowl for the next step. I ended up with about 3/4 cup of pan liquid. Oh, and you’ll also want to wipe out the bottom of the skillet at this time, and set it aside.
Next, pour chicken broth into the pan liquids. Stir until well-incorporated. In a separate saucepan, melt butter. Add tapioca starch and whisk until combined. Pour the chicken broth/pan liquids into the pan along with the other 1/4 cup of Rotel tomatoes and the milk. Adjust seasonings, if desired.
Then add the cream cheese, and continue to cook until melted. Remove from heat, and stir in the sour cream. Then, start to layer the gluten free sour cream chicken enchilada casserole by putting a bit of sauce on the bottom of the skillet.
Then, cover with 4 corn tortillas and some of the browned chicken/veggie mixture.
Cover with the sauce.
Then, make two more layers until you use up all of the ingredients. Finally, bake until hot and bubbly.
All of the work for this dish only lasts about 30 minutes, maybe 40 minutes if you get called away from it a time or two. But, once this gluten free sour cream chicken enchilada casserole is in the oven, you start to smell the flavors coming together quickly.
Then, when it actually comes out of the oven, you get to dig into your comfort food masterpiece. The seasoned chicken is over-the-top tender from the lime juice and seasonings. The corn tortillas just melt right into your mouth like they were just destined to be there.
And the sauce, y’all, oh the sauce!! Sour cream and cream cheese are a marriage made in Heaven. The seasoned pan liquids from the browned chicken and veggies permeate each drop of the sauce. So, this phenomenon creates a flavor symphony with spicy highs and ‘just-can’t-put-my-finger-on-this-type-of-yum’ lows that make each bite even more ultra-flavorful and interesting than the last.
Share this gluten free sour cream chicken enchilada casserole with those who are always there to comfort you throughout the ups and downs of your life. And see y’all on the yum side…
Gluten Free Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
For the Seasoned Chicken Breast Strips
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 6 teaspoons lime juice
- salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup drained Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
For the Gluten Free Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 1 cup chicken broth
- drained browned seasoned chicken breasts juices (see blog post)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup milk
- extra salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste, optional
- 1/4 cup drained Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley, optional
- 12 8-inch corn tortillas
- Brown the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery in a cast iron skillet or saucepan.
- While the trinity is caramelizing, season the chicken breast strips with the garlic powder paprika, dried parsley flakes, cumin, lime juice and SP&C to taste. Set aside.
- When the trinity is about half-way browned, add the seasoned chicken strips.
- Cook until the chicken strips brown along with the vegetables, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- When the veggies and chicken strips are browned, add the fresh cilantro, parsley, minced garlic and 1/4 cup of Rotel tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 1 additional minute, or until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Set a colandar atop a large bowl.
- Carefully pour the seasoned chicken/veggie mixture into the colander, shaking the colander gently to release all of the pan juices into the bowl.
- Pour the chicken broth into a glass Pyrex measuring cup, then pour the pan juices into the chicken broth. Stir gently, then set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Then, whisk the tapioca starch into the butter for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened and well-incorporated.
- Pour the chicken broth/pan juice mixture into the saucepan. Add the cream cheese and the other 1/4 cup of Rotel tomatoes. If you like your food highly seasoned, then add more SP&C to taste.
- Remove the saucepan from heat.
- Stir in the sour cream, whisking until the enchilada sauce mixture is well-combined.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet.
- Pour a bit of sauce onto the bottom of the skillet. Then, position 4 corn tortillas along the bottom of the skillet. Top with 1/3 of the chicken/veggie mixture, then with 1/3 of the sour cream/cream cheese sauce.
- Repeat the layers until all of the ingredients are in the skillet.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.