My collection of shredded chicken, from leftover roasted chickens, was growing and I wanted to use some of it to clear some space in my freezer. (Ice cream season is coming and I will need that space!) After searching around for a while I came across the concept of a king ranch chicken casserole which sounded really good. A chicken ranch casserole seems to be a creamy chicken casserole with texmex flavours that is layered like a lasagna using corn tortillas. I had been thinking about doing something with a creamy poblano sauce for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to.
Most of the recipes that I came across called for canned creamed soups to form the base of the sauce but I was determined to do it without them. I started by sauteing the vegetables in more butter than I would normally use so that I could sprinkle in some flour to form a roux and thicken the chicken stock. I finished the creamy part of the casserole off with some milk and sour cream for a bit of tanginess. For the texmex flavours, I used those poblano peppers and some jalapeno peppers, canned chopped green chilies, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano and cilantro. With all of the chili heat in the dish I thought that some corn would go well to take the edge off. Of course it is really hard to not top off a texmex dish like this with some ooey gooey melted cheese.
The king ranch chicken casserole was easy to make and it was super tasty! I over filled my baking dish and some of the sauce bubbled over. Luckily I always bake things like this on a baking sheet so I was saved from having to clean up a big mess in the oven. The chicken casserole was nice and creamy and cheesy and good! This dish is packed with so many of the texmex flavours that I like so much and it sure is a winner in my books. I am looking forward to enjoying the leftovers for lunches over the next few days.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole(makes 6+ servings)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
1 poblano pepper (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 jalapenos (chopped)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin (toasted and ground)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup of chicken broth
2 cups chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup corn
1 lime (juice)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
10 corn tortillas
2 cups cheese (grated)
1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the onion, red pepper and poblano pepper and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic jalapenos, chili powder and cumin and saute unto fragrant, about a minute.
4. Mix in the flour and cook for a few minutes.
5. Add the chicken broth and simmer until the liquid thickens.
6. Add the chicken, tomatoes, green chilies, milk and oregano and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and stir in the corn, lime juice, sour cream, cilantro, salt and pepper.
8. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan.
9. Top with a layer formed with 1/2 of the tortillas.
10. Top with a layer of 1/2 of the the sauce.
11. Top with a layer of 1/2 of the the cheese.
12. Top with a layer of the remaining tortillas.
13. Top with a layer of the remaining sauce.
14. Top with a layer of the remaining cheese.
15. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the top is golden brown.
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