Hatch Chili Pepper Casserole

Recipes are not something you see here very often.  This site is just not about posting a recipe, and then you cook the dish and come back and post what a genius I am.  There are plenty of great sites that focus on recipes that you can just go search for.  This post will somewhat break that rule.  Today's dish is something that I get requests for every time I either serve it to someone, or make some to take into work to eat for lunch.  The smells that roll out of the microwave are simply amazing.

This recipe is taken from some DVD that the Hatch Chili sales rep gave to me at Wegmas.  You read that right: there is a guy there that flies to Virginia from New Mexico to sell peppers. You might think this is very strange, but you need to re-read the opening paragraph: everyone asks for the recipe. I went ahead and took some notes several years ago from the DVD and now you too can enjoy this great dish.

Probably the most difficult part is deciding what to do about the chilies. Here in Virginia, they sell the chilies once a year at Wegmans. It is a great event: the previously mentioned sales guy is there, and he brings a big roaster with him. The peppers are roasted for you right there on the spot.. You will get about a bushel of these great chilies. We like to freeze them for consumption later in the year, after we take them home and seed them.

Another option is to mail order some Hatch Chilies. Again, do a search and take your chances. Nobody is paying for an endorsement, and we have never ordered that way, so searching and trying a site is all we can suggest.

Yet another option is to look for canned Hatch Chilies in your grocery store. You could probably substitute other kinds of chilies too. 

The final option is to use a related type of chili. Go to the grocery store and get some chili of mild to medium heat that is about the size of a bell pepper.  Roast the chili in the oven. If you don't know how to do roast in the oven, go do a search on how to roast chilies in the oven and use the results.

You will need about two cups of roasted chilies, so I suggest 3-4 of whatever type you try. The dish will still be great, so just go make it happen and stop complaining.

Try to think of the following recipe as a guide, and not a formula. You can add and subtract whatever you like, with the exception of the cream of chicken soup and evaporated milk.  Those need to be the same, but even with these, you can add more or less.

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup

  • 1 can evaporated milk

  • 2 cups chilies, Hatch if you can get them. See the above discussion

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cut

  • a big package of corn tortillas but you could use wheat also

  • a cup of shredded cheese, something like cheddar or pepper jack or even both!

  • an onion chopped (optional)

  • corn (optional)

  • black beans or whatever kind of beans you like (optional)

  • cilantro (optional)

I use a 13x9 baking pan, but anything close would work.

Put the soup and evaporated milk in a saucepan. Add the chicken, chilies, and the optional ingredients to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Place a little of the soup mixture on the bottom of the pan. Put a layer of tortillias down.  Put some more of the soup mixture down. Add some cheese and cilantro whenever you want. Keep repeating the layers, until you use up everything or the pan is full.

Cover the pan with aluminium foil and place the pan in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for 20 more minutes.  Remove from the oven and wait 10 minutes. Cut out whatever serving size works for you and enjoy.