Friday, February 11, 2011

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Like the cookbook says:  "This is lasagna gone completely Tex-Mex!"


You can make this up to three days before and refrigerate it. 

The flavors have a little mix-and-mingle party in there.

Listen closely:  you can hear strains of the mariachi band coming from the bottom shelf of your fridge...

And when you're ready to serve it, just reheat, garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro (if you're feeling fancy), and voila!  Dinner is served.

(It also freezes really well.)

And, hey:  do you have a partially-eaten rotisserie chicken that you're wondering what to do with?  Shred the meat and use it in this dish!

The sauce used in the recipe is made from tomatillos (the little husk-covered green tomato-looking things).  Click here for the recipe.


If you don't want to make your own tomatillo sauce, skip it. 

Use your favorite salsa instead!

Serve the casserole with corn, black beans, and a fresh green salad.


King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Serves 6-8

Mexican Chicken Filling
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (or about 3 tablespoons dried cilantro)

The Casserole
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 cups tomatillo sauce (click here for recipe or use your favorite salsa)
8 corn tortillas* 
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green chilies, drained (optional)

Optional Garnish:
Dollop of sour cream
Sprig of fresh cilantro

To Prepare the Mexican Chicken Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan or skillet.  Add the onions, and cook them until they are translucent, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the garlic, paprika, cumin, tumeric, black pepper, and salt.  Add the chicken, and heat through.  Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the cilantro.

To Prepare the Casserole:
In a small bowl, combine the cheeses.

Grease a 8 x 8-1/2 inch pan that's at least 2 inches deep.  (I used a slightly larger 7 x 11 inch worked fine, but it just didn't get as "thick".) 

Spread 1 cup of the tomatillo sauce (or salsa) in the bottom of the pan. 

Top with 4 tortillas*, overlapping as necessary.  (You may have to tear the tortillas to get them to fit.) 

Spread half of the sour cream evenly over the tortillas.  Add 1/2 cup of the remaining tomatillo sauce, 1 and 1/2 cups of the chicken filling, 1 cup of the cheese mixture, and one half of the green chiles (if using).

Top with 4 more tortillas, the remainder of the sour cream, tomatillo sauce, and chicken filling, 1 cup of the cheese mixture, and the remaining green chilies. 

End with 1 cup of the cheese mixture sprinkled on top. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. 

*Although it does add extra calories, I like to heat a little canola oil in a small skillet and warm the tortillas in it before I use them in this casserole.  It keeps them from drying out and getting tough during baking.)

Slightly adapted from:  The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

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Erica said... king ranch chicken!
Everyones recipes for it seem to be a little different, but always delicious ;)

Micha @ Cookin' Mimi said...

This was fabulous. We liked it so well I ended up making it twice which rarely happens with an SRC recipe. It will be made frequently.