King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones
    4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
    4 teaspoons chili powder
    1/4 cup olive oil
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
    1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced
    1 poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon of cumin
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 cup of chicken broth
    1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
    1/2 cup half and half
    1/3 cup sour cream
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    Vegetable oil, for cooking the tortillas
    10 corn tortillas
    1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded pepper Jack
    1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar

    Season the chicken with the 2 teaspoons of the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of the ancho chile powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. There should be about 3 cups of chicken.

    Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium low, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion and peppers are soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder, and cook for 1 more minute.

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

    Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, the remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and the cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.

    Preheat the oven to 350į F and have ready a 9x13 baking dish.

    To heat up the tortillas, add about 1 teaspoon of oil to a large skillet heated on medium-high, and add the tortillas, one at a time, cooking about 30 seconds per side or until softened. Add more oil as needed.

    To assemble the casserole, ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish. 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. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

    Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. If you like, top with additional sour cream and cilantro for serving.

    6 to 12 servings

    If you canít find Ro-Tel tomatoes, you can use a can of regular diced tomatoes and a 4-ounce 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)
  • OMG... I've always been a casserole lover, and boy-oh-boy, does this one ever sound yummy good!