Some times when I post a recipe I am torn between that “here it is” and “I am so so sorry it took so long” sentiment. I want to give a really good reason to you all for the wait, but I’d rather be honest. The reality is that when I make Enchiladas I am in such a rush to eat them that pictures aren’t really high priority at the time. That’s really it. It is incredibly hard to resist that sizzling sauce, the crispy melty cheese, the caramelized bits at the edge of the pan that I want to err…. tidy up. Yes let’s call it that. Whatever the reason for the delay, these Spicy Chicken Enchiladas with our Favourite Enchilada Sauce are finally here. I can make zero claims regarding the authenticity of these Spicy Chicken Enchiladas, but I can tell you that they are make-for-dinner-guests-good. If you’re the sharing kind that is.
In most cases when you’re of desi (south asian) origin a lifetime of eating spicy food means that you automatically lean towards other cuisines that are spicy – Mexican, Thai, other East Asian foods. If they aren’t ‘naturally’ spicy foods then you make changes – my bechamel sauce for my lasagna has green chillies in it. True story.
Am I embarrassed to admit it to all you wonderful foodies out there? Only a little 😉
Meals like this lovely spicy one pot burrito bowl really hit the spot on many fronts. First of all it’s spicy (you can always dial down the spice if you wish), second of all it comes together fairly quickly and in one pot (hooray for less washing up), and thirdly it is so good for you with it’s healthy combination of lean chicken, beans, and brown rice. The best part is that because of all the flavor that gets worked into the dish you don’t miss white rice at all. Trust me in my household that’s an accomplishment.
A few quick notes before we go on to the recipe. First of all I used the chilli flavored canned tomatoes which helped give this dish an extra layer of hearty smokiness and second of all I used this brand of brown rice and my cooking time reflects that. If you use a brand that takes longer to cook then add in a half cup of extra water and let it cook on low heat. Also, if you want to make this a vegetarian dish then omit the chicken and sub the broth with vegetable broth or water.
I am not that good with crowd pleasing dishes – most things I make don’t quadruple well and if you’re Pakistani a small family dinner easily means 40 people and a whole bunch of quadrupling. Over time this cooking for a crowd has become a lot easier and I have fewer meltdowns (lol). However, that is in part because I have started building an arsenal of delicious recipes that are easy to whip together, make in advance, and double if need be.
This Taco lasagna is the latest addition to that collection. The components come together quickly and since you bake it the day of the event it tastes fresh and delicious. I make it with a side of a cheesy spicy garlic bread loaf (recipe to be posted) and a nice bean salad.
The best part is you can actually make this (minus the dicing bit) with a 1 yr old hanging off one hip as long as you give her a little bit of cheese to snack on. Oh and keep her away from the jalapenos if she is convinced all green things are delicious.
1/2 cup diced onion
1 lb ground chicken (or beef)
Spicy taco seasoning – 1 packet or make your own and use 3 tbsp
24 ounces salsa
1 cup corn kernels
15 oz carton ricotta cheese
1 jalapeno diced
2 cups shredded cheese – I used Monterey Jack + Mozzarella
Generous pinch of coarse salt and pepper
1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (you can sub w regular, just parboil first)
2 cups shredded cheese for topping the lasagna
Chopped green onions for garnish
Note: Most pans and lasagna noodles aren’t friends. There is usually some rejigging and some swearing involved. To mitigate some of this lay out your (uncooked) noodles once in the pan to figure out how many noodles you will need and how many layers you will get so you can readjust layers accordingly. I am giving instructions for a roasting pan (what I use) and a 9*13 below.
Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil until translucent, add the ground chicken and the seasoning then cook until the meat is browned. With chicken this is v quick. Add in the corn kernels and salsa and warm through.
While the meat is warming empty the ricotta container into a large bowl and mix in the egg, seasoning and diced jalapeno (deseeded or otherwise). Once well combined mix in cheese.
Drizzle a little oil on the base of your pan layer as follows – a ladle or two of bolognese, 6 lasagna noodles vertically across, 2/3 taco meat mix, lasagna noodles, 2/3 ricotta mix, lasagna noodles, then lasagna noodles, then the meat mix dotted with the remainder of your ricotta mix, top with cheese.
In a 9×13 baking dish, start by layering 4 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Next, layer ⅓ of the ricotta, ⅓ of the beef mixture, ⅓ of the salsa, and ⅓ of the cheese. Repeat the layers 2 more times.
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350, cover the dish foil (tent to prevent it from sticking to the cheese) and bake for 35 minutes. If you don’t use foil then you will end up with what I like to call extra crispy edges (I was out of foil the day I took pictures). Remove foil and bake until the top is nice and bubbly and broil for a minute or two.
I am having a social few weeks guys. First I visited Aruna at Aharam and shared a wonderful Thai noodle salad and now I am over at Indira’s blog “I’ll Cook, You Wash” sharing my recipe for a pizza I am basically obsessed with. It is so good.
Let’s just take a minute to look at it in it’s cheesy topping heavy goodness. Yum. Sigh. I wish I had pizza right now.
Okay *exhale*, focus Sarah focus.
Indira with the awesomely named blog cracks me up – she really does. Apart from being a fellow lover of avocados, Indira is also a lover of everyday food – you know the kind of food you look at and can make and eat without exhausting your annual grocery budget and two days worth of time. My kinda girl I tell you. I have tried her Foolproof Lime Cumin Quinoa salad (so yum) and now have my sights set on about a dozen other recipes at her blog. Visit her, follow her, and thank me later 🙂
So Indira and I have a bit of a pizza swap going. She is sending a scrumptious White Pizza – both my love and nemesis – my way and this week I have shared with her the recipe for my Fajita Pizza. You can read more about it over here, but for now imagine this – a thick crisp on the outside soft and chewy on the inside crust, topped with tangy salsa, beautiful melty cheese, sweet niblets of corn, feisty jalapenos, delicious black beans, diced bright red peppers and finally some spicy fajita chicken. Damnit. I am hungry again.