Chicken Tortilla Casserole

I could eat comfort food year round – it definitely makes its way onto our menu from time to time even in the dog days of summer. The frequency really ramps up when the cooler weather arrives though; and while that hasn’t happened with any regularity yet, it probably won’t be too much longer. So, naturally I have been keeping my eyes peeled for new options to add to our rotation. You can never have too many comfort food dishes in your back pocket :)

Casseroles are something I don’t make all that often, but there was no question I was making this as soon as I read Josie’s post. She mentioned it’s a repeat recipe in their house, and when a food blogger makes a recipe over and over again, you know it’s a good one! I love that it’s designed specifically for two and that it’s made from just a short list of fresh ingredients, which definitely can’t be said about all casseroles. Another added bonus – it’s a one-pot meal so clean-up is quick and easy.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

The only thing that made me slightly nervous about this recipe were the tortilla chips. I was worried they’d be soggy and completely unappealing but fortunately that wasn’t the case. Half are added early in the cooking process and basically dissolve to thicken the sauce, and the remainder are added right at the end and retain their crunch so the dish has some texture.

Shane raved about this meal more than anything I’ve made in quite a while – he hasn’t stopped asking me to make it again :) It has some heat from the chipotles, which he loved, while I enjoyed the freshness of the tomatoes and the herbs. And not surprisingly, we could both get behind the mound of cheese on top. This chicken tortilla casserole is simple, comforting and even relatively healthy – pretty much a winner in every category!

Chicken Tortilla Casserole for Two
adapted from Pink Parsley (originally adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Cooking for Two)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons minced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 cups tortilla chips, broken into pieces
1 tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a 10-inch oven-safe skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken breasts and brown well on both sides, about 6-7 minutes total (the chicken won’t be cooked through yet). Remove the chicken to a plate and tent to keep warm.

Add the onion, garlic, chipotle peppers, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then mix in half of the tortilla chips. Reduce the heat to medium and nestle the chicken into the pan. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (it will register 160-165 F on an instant read thermometer). Remove the chicken to a plate and allow it to cool slightly. When you can handle it, shred into bite-size pieces.

Preheat your broiler and place an oven rack about 6 inches from it.

Add the shredded chicken, tomato, 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1 tablespoon of the parsley to the skillet, stirring to incorporate (if the mixture seems a little dry, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth). Add the remaining tortilla chips and gently mix to combine.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole and place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and browned. (If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the mixture to a greased 9-inch baking pan and broil in there.) Remove and let cool for 5 minutes then garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.