enchcass1This was so weird and wonderful, you guys. And it was one of those recipes that made me realize how motherhood has changed my cooking habits. I’ve always been a Food Network fan, but I feel like there used to be a stronger representation in my recipe adventures from places like Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. My cooking vocabulary had many more words like galette or risotto in it than it does these days. I still bring out the big guns occasionally, but the past couple of years I’ve really been craving words like easy and leftovers. Which is why Sunny Anderson’s recipe for “Una de Cada” (One of Each) Enchilada Casserole in a recent Food Network Magazine hit all the right notes for me.

This crazy dish basically combines chicken and beef enchiladas into one huge (for two adults) casserole. It also (as I suspected it would) froze really well, and all told I think I ended up with 4 complete dinners out of it. Never in a million years would I have imagined liking a dish like this a few years ago, but now I feel like this is one of those things Hannah will grow up eating (when she’s actually able to eat regular food).

Una de Cada Enchilada Casserole by Sunny Anderson
For the enchilada sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp or finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup beef broth

For the beef layer:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp or finely minced
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 packet (about 1/4 teaspoon) Sazon seasoning
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup beef broth
Freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken layer:

1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

For the casserole:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
20 to 24 six-inch corn tortillas, cut in half

Make the enchilada sauce: In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the oil, onion, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes.

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Raise the heat to medium high and add the tomato paste; stir with a wooden spoon and cook until it deepens in color, 3 minutes.

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Add the garlic, cumin and thyme. Cook, stirring, until combined and fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the crushed tomatoes and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

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Cook the beef: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large straight-sided pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and green and red bell peppers. Sprinkle with a nice pinch of salt and cook until the onion and peppers are tender but not browned, about 6 minutes.

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Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. In this order, add the beef, onion powder, cumin, thyme, Sazon, tomatoes and broth, allowing time between each addition to stir and blend.

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Cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring to break down the beef into bits.

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When the beef is cooked through, taste and season with a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. (Sazon adds salt, so be careful not to over-season.) Set aside.

Prepare the chicken layer: In a large bowl, toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Set aside.

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Assemble and bake the casserole: Use the butter to coat the bottom and sides of a deep 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheeses together. Pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce into the prepared dish. One at a time, dunk the tortilla slices in the still-warm enchilada sauce in the pot and layer them on the bottom of the dish using the straight edges to line the sides, overlapping where needed and covering the entire bottom of the dish.**NOTE: My tortillas disintegrated when I dunked, so I layered them dry and smothered them with sauce. This worked fine for me.

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Next, add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese blend, all of the beef, another 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese blend, a new layer of tortillas dunked in the enchilada sauce, all of the chicken and a final layer of tortillas dunked in the enchilada sauce.

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Pour the rest of the sauce over all of the layers and top with the remaining shredded cheese blend. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbles, about 30 minutes.

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Let it rest a bit before you slice it, just like lasagna.