Monday, November 12, 2007

Everyone Loves a Casserole

Well, everyone seemed to love this one.

I brought some of this into the office and everyone who had a bite thought it was great. Sorry for the lousy picture - we didn't take one at home, so this artfully-styled shot of leftovers was taken in my office.

This recipe is lifted pretty liberally from Homesick Texan. I recommend you check out her post for the story of this casserole and her relationship with it.

Don't freak out, this is a long recipe, but it's easy.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken breast (or 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken)
  • 1 lime
  • sprinkle chili powder
  • drizzle olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cooked chicken

  • 4 tablespoons butter (you need butter to make a roux - you can use olive oil, but use 4 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (or 1 green pepper and 1 jalapeno, diced)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
  • 1 10oz. can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, original-style (or a can regular diced tomatoes and 2 diced jalapenos)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 10-12 corn tortillas (I really like Whole Foods yellow corn tortillas)
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cups of grated pepper jack and cheddar cheeses
If using raw chicken: Put the chicken on a baking sheet, sprinkle with chili powder and salt. Squeeze lime over the meat and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 until done, 25 minutes for bonesless breasts, 40+ minutes for bone-in. Set aside until cool and the shred meat into bite size pieces.

If using cooked chicken: Toss chicken with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of chili powder.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and softened.

Add the garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and chili powder, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half or milk and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Take pot off heat.

Heat up the tortillas (you can do this by adding a bit of oil on an iron skillet and then cooking the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side, or buy laying tortillas across the open flame of a gas burner).

Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11x7 (or 8x10) inch baking pan.

Layer the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). Tear tortillas in half if needed to make an even layer. Layer half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese into the pan.

Make another layer of sauce, chicken, cilantro and cheese. Make sure the top layer is cheese.

If making ahead, refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.

To cook: Bake at 350 for 30 minutes if making right away. A refrigerated casserole will take about 45 minutes to an hour. Either way, bake until browned and bubbling. Serve with sour cream and additional chopped cilantro.

Serves 6-8.


Julia said...

I was with you until the Ro-Tel tomatoes, because Ro-Tel tomatoes scare me.

Cream of Mushroom soup, on the other hand, is the nutritionally inexcusable bomb (particularly with a shot of sherry). I am forever looking for organic substitutes.

Sunday Cook said...

Be brave Julia. Into the breach woman!

Or ... just use a can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes plus a fresh jalapeno.

Re COMS: Are you looking for an organic canned version for casserole recipes and such? Or do you want to make your own? (I am pretty sure I know the answer to this one.)

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