What to do with leftover beer: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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(Original Post Date:  May 12, 2010)

I still have several bottles of beer leftover from the time I made Beer Bread that are taking up valuable pantry real estate.  What do I do with all this extra beer?  (There are only so many times I can make beer bread without my husband complaining he’s eaten it too many times…)

I remembered my friend Kim’s method for making Chicken Enchiladas with condensed soup, and thought I could modify it slightly – kicking it up a little bit with the beer.  Her recipe calls for a roasted chicken, which has worked out nicely for me in the past – but here I was with all this beer, and a bunch of frozen chicken tenderloins.  So I decided to boil the chicken in the beer, then shred it for use in the casserole.  The flavor of the chicken turned out really moist and tasty, and the beer added just a little something extra to the recipe that worked out really well.  I think I might even use this method for making chicken tacos in the future.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole:

  • 1 can Cream of Chicken condensed soup
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 6 chicken tenderloins (or 2 breasts)
  • 1 bottle beer (12 oz)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

1.  Heat the beer and chicken in a saucepan until boiling.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Set the chicken aside on a cutting board to cool, and reserve the leftover cooked beer.  Shred the chicken with 2 forks, discarding any cartilage or tendons.  Lightly sprinkle with salt.

2.  Chop the bell peppers into small pieces.  I used 6 really small ones, but you can use 2 large ones.  Saute the peppers with salt and pepper to taste with the canola oil in a cast iron skillet until lightly browned.  If you don’t like bell peppers, you can omit them from the recipe.

3.  Combine the soup, milk, diced green chiles, and reserved beer in a small bowl.

4.  Combine the shredded chicken, sauteed peppers, and 1/4 the soup mixture in a bowl.  Meanwhile, pour just enough of the soup mixture into a rectangle Pyrex dish to coat the bottom.

5.  Lay out the tortillas on a large cutting board, and fill each one with the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle some cheddar and mozzarella on top of the chicken.  (You can fry the tortillas in oil before filling them if you want a more authentic texture… but I prefer to keep the extra fat out of the casserole since this recipe already calls for 2 cups of cheese.)

6.  Roll up each tortilla, and place seam side down into the Pyrex dish. Pour the remaining soup mixture over the top, and spread the rest of the cheeses across the top.  Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  When you serve this, it scoops out of the pan much more like a casserole than individual enchiladas (it falls apart into a delicious goopy mess).  If you want the look of individual enchiladas on a plate, then allow it to cool for an hour before serving with a large spatula.

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