2medium-sized white sweet potatoes (or starchy vegetable of choice)(about 800 grams)
2cupschopped fresh spinach(4 cups whole leaves)
Avocado Topping (optional)
2tbspred onion, diced
dash of sea salt
1/4cupfresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prep the sauce vegetables and chicken for the oven (see next steps).
For the sauce veggies (white onion, green onion, cucumber, and garlic)- Make sure they are cut into similar-sized pieces. Cut them somewhat small so they don't take a long time to cook but not so tiny that they burn. The garlic will be left whole- it'll be a little smaller than the other veggies but that's ok. The green onions will be cut in fourths. Place all the vegetables together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over them and toss to coat. Roast for about 40 minutes or until they start to brown. Check every 15 minutes or so and stir to prevent burning.
Add the chicken thighs to a second baking sheet (parchment paper-lined or greased) and sprinkle with sea salt. Add it to the oven with the veggies. Bake for about 30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, put a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. Bring to a boil.
Peel the sweet potatoes (optional)- I prefer to leave the skin on. Then, very thinly slice them length-wise to create sheets of sweet potato. Think about it as if you're making tortilla layers. This gets a little tricky once you've cut about half of the potato because it becomes unstable and hard to hold onto. To help with this, turn the potato onto its flat side once you've cut a few slices off- this will prevent it from rolling.
Add the sweet potato layers to the pot of boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes or until the slices are tender but not falling apart. Watch them closely. Drain the water once done and set aside.
Take the veggies and chicken out of the oven once cooked. Turn the oven temp down to 425 degrees (you'll bake the casserole once it's assembled). Shred the chicken using two forks. Set aside.
Add the sauce veggies (onion, green onion, garlic, cucumbers) to a blender or food processor along with the lime juice and salt. Blend until smooth.
Assemble the casserole: Add about 2 tbsp of the sauce to the bottom of a 9"x11" glass casserole/baking dish, then add a layer of sweet potatoes placed closely together. Next, add a layer of shredded chicken, then spinach, then a layer of sauce. Spread the sauce evenly with the back of a spoon. Repeat the process 1-2 times or until you run out of ingredients (you should have about 2 layers of potato/chicken/spinach/sauce). End the layering pattern with an additional layer of sweet potato topped with sauce. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until the center is hot.
Mix together the avocado topping. Once the casserole is done baking, allow it to cool for about 10-15 minutes, then add the toppings. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
*If you prefer not to use white sweet potatoes as your "tortilla" layers, you can use another starchy vegetable like yuca root, orange sweet potatoes, or malanga blanca. You can also use homemade cassava tortillas or if you're not strict AIP, Siete tortillas are an option. Making the dish ahead of time: If you want to make the whole enchilada casserole ahead of time, that's an option. Just assemble the casserole (minus the avocado topping). Cover and store the casserole in the fridge for one or two days and then cook it when you’re ready. To heat straight from the fridge: When it comes time to cook it in the oven, put it in the oven while the oven is still cool and allow the oven and the dish to heat up together. If you try to put a cold glass dish in a hot oven, it could cause the dish to break or even "explode" depending on what kind of dish it is and how it was made. As an extra precaution, you could place the glass dish on a baking sheet.For Freezing: You can freeze the enchilada casserole either before or after you cook it. Store it in a freezer-safe casserole dish and cover it tightly. It will stay good in the freezer for 2-3 months.When you're ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge overnight, then follow the cooking instructions above and in the recipe.