27 January 2010

King Ranch Casserole

Okay, I promise this won't become a food blog. BUT. We've only been out to dinner twice this month. Can you believe two times all month?! It's true. Now, we've allowed ourselves to schedule lunches out with friends or family, so we haven't completely stopped eating out, but it's been severely limited.

So, my monthly meal plan has worked. It's changed a little every week depending on recipes I've found or having people over, but I love it. I'm for sure doing this again.

One of my favorite recipes at my mom's restaurant is King Ranch Chicken. I love it. I could eat it every week. And I would if I had her recipe. Unfortunately, it's never been scaled down to 6 servings, and I don't need a casserole to feed 50 people. So I decided that I'd find my own recipe.

(This also allows me to share recipes because I think my mom might get upset if I began publishing her recipes on my blog for free.)

(If you're interested in buying secret recipes, contact me.)

(Just kidding.)

(Unless you have lots of money. And a mom that wouldn't mind me coming to holidays.)

I finally found a recipe for King Ranch Chicken that I was willing to try. It's from a blogger, Homesick Texan, and though I was skeptical when making it, it was amazingly terrific. She has two options; one is a little more "fancy" than the other. The non-fancy one uses cream of mushroom soup. I'm usually a believer of cream of mushroom soup going into every casserole, but I opted for the fancier version. Again, it did not disappoint.

I actually made the casserole two days ahead of time. I think leaving it in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to "meld" did a world of good. Because I didn't have ancho chili powder as listed, I used regular chili powder and added a teaspoon of brown sugar. Ancho chile's are similar in taste to a sweet raisin, so I thought I could create my own sweetness. And it worked. Oh, please notice the recipe calls for 4 teaspoons of chile powder. If you happen to add 4 tablespoons it might be a little spicier than you'd like, even after scooping out as much excess as possible and rinsing some of the sauteed goodness through a sieve. I've listed the recipe with a few changes I made.

Homesick Texan, October 2007
King Ranch Casserole
Serves 6
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 10-oz can Ro-tel
4 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups grated pepper jack & cheddar
About 10 flour and/or corn tortillas (I used equal parts)
Salt & pepper

1. Cook the chicken in the olive oil on medium, adding 2 teaspoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons chile powder and salt to taste.
2. When chicken is done (about 20-30 minutes), shred it and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium and add the onions, red bell pepper, and poblano pepper. Cook for ten minutes.
4. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, 2 teapoons of chile powder, brown sugar 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 and Ro-tel. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally.
6. Uncover the pot and add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Unless making ahead of time; then skip this step.)
8. Ladle 1/2 cup sauce onto the bottom of a 11x7 baking dish (I used an oval casserole).
9. Tear tortillas into about 8 pieces each and layer half of the tortillas along the bottom of the dish (on top of the sauce). Make sure entire pan is covered.
10. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.
11. Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese on top.
12. Cover with foil and cook 20 minutes. Uncover and finish cook 10 minutes or until brown and bubbling. (If you cook after storing in the refrigerator, add at least ten minutes cook time.)


Jessica said...

Ok next time I come to visit I'm staying for dinner!

Linda Ingram said...

OK, dear daughter. Almost had the will changed, but you redeemed yourself :) This sounds delish! Put us on the calendar for dinner too! PS Still curious about the LOTS of money?????? Love you, Mom

devon said...

Dear Linda,
Please disregard the following conversation. Thank you.

Kristina...so how much is "a lot" of money? I would seriously consider selling this extra kidney of mine for a sneak peak at the Cherry Laurel salad dressing recipe. I'm just saying...something to think about!! We could arrange a meeting at a secret location for the swap. Let me know!
cuhchhhhhhhhhh...over and out.

Kristina said...

Mom please don't read past THIS.

Dev, I'm thinking at least $1,000,000. I'd like for us to be set financially when said transaction occures. But maybe you could round up enough people to donate like $5 each. I'm sure there are 200,000 fans of the dressing. If not, you can make it happen!

martina said...

Hi Kristina, thank you so much for writing about RO*TEL. We love this recipe and think you should enter it into our recipe contest for a chance to win $2,000. For more info visit http://www.rotelacrossamerica.com

- The RO*TEL Across America Team