Last week I got a message from a reader, Holly, looking for a from-scratch version of a bubble up casserole. If you’ve never heard of bubble ups before, they’re basically a casserole made out of store bought biscuit dough mixed with some sort of sauce, cheese, and other add-ins, that are then baked until everything is fluffy, gooey, and soooo delicious! There are several versions of this classic casserole, but they all used canned biscuit dough, which is what Holly was looking to avoid. Finding a homemade alternative sounded like a fun challenge, so I set out to make my own Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole.
Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole
The Hybrid Biscuit
My original test was with my 5-ingredient Freezer Biscuit dough, but that proved to be a little too delicate and crumbly. Store bought canned biscuits have a more elastic texture, almost like a yeast dough, so I created a hybrid yeast biscuit that ended up working quite well! They’re tender, but have enough strength to hold up to the extra ingredients in the casserole. They do take some time, though, so this definitely isn’t a convenience recipe like the original bubble up casseroles.
The last thing I want to address before jumping into the recipe is that after reading through several other bubble up casserole recipes, it seems people often have trouble with the biscuit dough baking all the way through in the center of these bubble up recipes. One key is to choose a dish that is slightly larger so the mixture is not piled in too deep. If the mixture is too thick or deep in the dish it takes longer to heat through and for the biscuits to cook. Second, cover the dish with foil to hold in the heat as it bakes. This will heat the center faster, which is where most people find the biscuits to be unbaked. Lastly, keep in mind that every oven varies, as does every baking dish, so you may need to lengthen or shorten baking time to get your biscuits just right.
Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.05)
- 1 Tbsp flour ($0.02)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder* ($0.30)
- 1 cup water ($0.00)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.11)
- 1/4 tsp cumin ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.01)
- salt, to taste ($0.02)
- 1/4 cup hot water ($0.00)
- 1 tsp active dry or instant yeast ($0.09)
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting) ($0.06)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 2 tsp baking powder ($0.08)
- 1 tsp sugar ($0.01)
- 1 cup heavy cream ($0.95)
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped** ($1.75)
- 15 oz can black beans, drained ($0.59)
- 1 cup cheese, shredded ($0.94)
- 2 green onions, sliced ($0.25)
- Begin the biscuit dough first, so it can rest for one hour. Dissolve the yeast into 1/4 cup hot water. Let that sit for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Finally, add the heavy cream and yeast water, and stir until a sticky ball of dough forms.
- Dust the sticky dough with flour and then turn it out onto a well floured surface. Knead the dough for about three minutes, adding flour as you go to keep it from sticking. Form the dough into a ball, place it back in the bowl, cover it loosely with plastic, and let it rest for one hour.
- In the mean time, make the enchilada sauce. Add the oil, flour, and chili powder to a small sauce pot. Whisk the ingredients together and place over a medium burner. Allow the mixture to begin to sizzle and bubble, and continue to cook and whisk for about one minute.
- Carefully whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer again, at which point it will thicken. Remove it from the heat and add salt to taste.
- Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the cooked chicken. Add the enchilada sauce and stir them together until everything is coated.
- After the dough has been resting for one hour, begin to preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat an 8x11" or 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a well floured surface. Press it down into a circle or rectangle, and then cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. Add the pieces to the bowl with the chicken, beans, and enchilada sauce, and carefully fold them together until evenly combined and coated in sauce.
- Spread the dough mixture into the casserole dish and make sure it's in an even layer across the bottom. The mixture should not be piled too thick. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the center is baked through.
- Add the shredded cheese, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Top with sliced green onions just before serving.
Step by Step Photos
Begin with the biscuit dough because it does need to rest for about an hour. Dissolve 1 tsp active dry or instant yeast in 1/4 cup hot water. Let that sit for a few minutes. This won’t get nice and frothy because there isn’t any sugar or flour in that water for the yeast to feed on. You’re really just looking to wake it up and rehydrate it.
While the yeast is sitting, combine 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp sugar in a large bowl. Stir them together until they’re evenly combined.
Add the yeast water and 1 cup heavy cream, then stir until it forms a sticky dough.
Dust the sticky dough with flour so you can scrape it out of the bowl and onto a well floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, adding a little flour as you go to prevent sticking. You want to just develop the gluten in the dough a little, but not enough to make it tough. It won’t look smooth like a nice bread dough, and that’s okay. Place the dough ball back into the bowl, cover it loosely with plastic, and let it rest for about an hour.
While the dough is resting, begin the enchilada sauce. Add 1 Tbsp each of vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder. Whisk them together over medium heat and allow it to begin bubbling and sizzling. Continue to cook and whisk for about one minute.
Carefully whisk in 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. Allow the mixture to come back up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken. Remove the enchilada sauce from the heat and add salt to taste (between 1/4-1/2 tsp).
Add two cups cooked chicken to a bowl along with a drained 15oz. can of black beans. Pour the enchilada sauce over top and then stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in sauce.
After the dough has been resting for an hour, begin to preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat a 2 qt. casserole dish with non-stick spray. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it down into a circle or rectangle.
Cut the dough into small bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch pieces).
Add the dough pieces to the bowl with the chicken, beans, and enchilada sauce, and carefully fold them in until everything is evenly combined and coated in sauce. Spread this mixture into your prepared casserole dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the biscuits in the center are cooked through. One way to tell it’s done all the way through is that the center should be puffed up as much as or more than the outer edges. Also, it should not be jiggly when you poke at it with your finger. How’s that for technical language? 😅
Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheese over top, then back to the oven for another 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!
Finally, top the Enchilada Bubble Up Casserole with sliced green onions just before serving.