Gluten-Free Enchilada Bake: Roasted Green Chile and Cream Cheese

Easy gluten-free tortilla bake with cream cheese and green chiles.
Gluten-free tortilla bake with cream cheese and green chiles.


Planted on the coast of Cape Cod for years (forever, it seemed, on gloomy January days blanketed in gray) I daydreamed about fire roasted chiles. The smoky pepper sweetness that flirted with your senses as you walked in Santa Fe. The luxury of buying bags of freshly roasted chiles by the roadside- still warm,  soft as butter, and charred. In fact, I may have moved here for the chiles alone.

That's entirely possible.

I may have been so drop dead in love with chiles when we bought this casita that I didn't notice I'd be stuck out in the desert with so few neighbors. No bookstore, no cafe- no movie theater. What was I thinking? Only my analyst knows for sure (if she remembers me; it's been years since Jungian analysis).

Along with dreaming of Val Kilmer (not the rock scrambling Thunderheart Val, the seasoned, voluptuous new Mega Val- and why he showed up in my dream, I've no clue- better ask my analyst about that, too) I've been craving roasted green chile this month like mad as we approach our second anniversary of moving to New Mexico. 

And wouldn't you know it! I'm out of last year's roadside bags of chiles. 


They're long gone (my freezer is annoyingly, shall we say, petite). Until roasting season starts I have to settle with buying frozen Bueno chiles. And they're not bad, exactly. They are pretty dang good.

Yet, as I sit and crave and daydream, the big question becomes: Do I really still want to be here in August when chile roasting begins? Is my chile love a devoted, true love, or simply an infatuation? A passing fancy? Will your intrepid dusty goddess remain here in the coyote hills of O'Keeffe country or soon be walking Venice Beach in her Rocket Dogs?

I tell myself, just breathe.


There are Bueno chiles to defrost.

Karina's Gluten-Free Enchilada Casserole: Roasted Green Chile Tortilla Bake Recipe

Originally published August 2006.

 The creamy filling cools the spice in this cozy family-style dish. Use organic free-range chicken for the protein if you are flexitarian or use cooked black or white beans, to keep it vegetarian. To keep it dairy-free I use soy cream cheese for the cheese layer and vegan grated cheese. (Soy-free vegan? Try a thickened version of my Cheesy Uncheese Sauce.)

First- make your green chile. Stir with love.



Green Chile Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh or frozen roasted chiles, skinned, stemmed, seeded, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded, chopped- I used Roma (plum) tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth- reserve 4-5 tablespoons
Pinch of sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
A dash of golden balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons potato starch or sweet rice flour

Instructions:


In a large saucepan, combine the chiles, garlic, tomatoes, broth, sea salt and pepper, vinegar and agave syrup. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat a bit and maintain a gentle, constant low simmer for ten minutes.


Add the potato starch to the reserved broth and whisk to make a thickening paste.


Stir the paste into the green chile and continue to cook, stirring, for another 7 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened but not gluey.


As always, taste test. If you used very hot chiles and the sauce is too spicy, add more agave to soften the heat.


Remove from the stove and set aside.


Make your casserole.


Casserole ingredients:


2 1/2 cups green chile sauce (see above)

10 to 12 corn tortillas
1 8-oz. package dairy or soy cream cheese- room temperature
1 cup grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or grated vegan cheese
1 medium red onion, diced fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14-oz can black or white beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin, to taste
Juice from 1 large lime

Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray or oil an 8x8-inch baking dish.


Spoon a half cup of the chile sauce into the baking dish to cover the bottom. Tearing some tortillas in half, if necessary- to fit- take four tortillas, one at a time, and dip each one quickly into the hot green chile sauce, then place it into the baking dish to make a bottom layer.


Spread the softened cream cheese onto the tortilla layer; add the grated cheese.


In a bowl, combine the onion, garlic and beans. Season with cumin and lime juice.


Add the bean mixture to the casserole and spread evenly.


Spoon a half cup of green chile sauce over the beans.


Follow with another layer of dipped tortillas. Press down with a spatula.


Pour the remaining green chile sauce all over the top, allowing it to seep in around the edges.


Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until it is hot and bubbling. Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.


Serve with a cool green salad. Need inspiration? Here's Three Ways To Dress a Naked Salad.


Serves 4.


Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Karina's Notes:

If using my Cheesy Uncheese Sauce instead of the moo-cow cream cheese, I would reverse the layers and make the uncheese sauce the top layer, above the protein layer.

Want more chile goodness- including a "How to" on roasting your own chiles? You know you do.
Check out Elise's Chile Relleno Casserole at Simply Recipes.