My sister in law, who lives in Texas, called me one afternoon, saying that she was having company over and needed a good recipe. She mentioned that a traditional Texas meal was King Ranch Chicken Casserole but that everyone makes it with cream of chicken soup. Since she and I can’t eat those gluten containing soups, she wished there was another way to make it. I love a challenge so I set out to find a recipe for her to use. I can’t remember where I found it, but I copy and pasted the recipe into a Word document and emailed it to her right away. She made it and her company raved! I then made it for our family and it is now one of our favorites. It is creamy and a little spicy, with gooey cheeses and Fresh cilantro and lime. What is not to like?!? 🙂
Try it out with your family and let me know what you think.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano or green pepper, diced (i use green)
2 10oz. can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (or you can use a can of regular diced tomatoes and a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, or if tomatoes are in season, can use two cups of diced fresh tomatoes with 1/4 cup of diced green chiles, such as a jalapeno)
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 cup of chicken broth
3 tablespoons of rice flour (all purpose if you don’t need GF)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of half and half
juice from 1 lime
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
3 cups of grated pepper jack and cheddar
10 -12 corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Cook the chicken in the olive oil on medium. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt and a little pepper. (I have also cooked my chicken in the crock pot overnight with these seasonings added).
2. When chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks and set aside. Should yield about 3 cups.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and green pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half, lime juice, and Ro-Tel. cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
8. Heat up the tortillas by wrapping them inbetween two moist paper towels for about 30 seconds.
9. Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan (you can also use a 9×13 pan but the casserole will be thinner)
10. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps.
11. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.
12. Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top.
13. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Serves 6-12, depending on how big a portion you distribute. Goes great with sour cream and cilantro on top.
mmmmmmmmmmmmm. . .