King Ranch Casserole

Friday, June 22, 2012

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The first year I was married I had to learn my DH tastes… there was some dinners that he choked down and then there was some that he absolutely refused to eat…

Biscuits and gravy  

Pasta salad

Tuna noodle salad

Potato salad

Chip beef and gravy…

Food that a sorta southern girl grew up on… 

Then as the years go by I learn that there is some dinners that he will scarf down and ask for more… I still have that nasty habit of finding a meal that everyone loves and running it into the ground by making it too often…

I am working on that…

Every now and then I make chicken spaghetti, but shy away from it as it has a lot of process ingredients… and since I am not completely a process snob, I do make it…. And as far as he is concerned… not enough…
So when I found this recipe of King Ranch casserole I thought he would have enjoyed it…  

WRONG! It wasn’t swimming in process cheese…

But Layla really loves it. And she requested it for her birthday dinner…
That I ended up making several days later….  Poor thing… I think she needs to upgrade her Mama…..



The recipe calls for baking the corn tortillas to crisp them but since it is over 85 degrees outside I didn’t want to turn on my oven any sooner than I had to so I just went ahead and fried them.



I think it worked even better than baking them…



In large pot sautĂ© your onions, chili’s, and cumin for about 8 minutes or until browned… it is kinda hard to tell since the cumin makes everything brown once you mix it in well… so look closely.



Add your rotel tomatoes… and cook till most of the juice is evaporated



Add flour and still well and cook for a minute



Add the cream to the broth



Add that to your pot and stir well… scraping the bottom of the pot well to gather up all the goodies that might have stuck there…. Cook till starting to thicken… 4 to 5 minutes



Add your chicken that you’ve diced like so and cook till chicken is no longer pink about 4 minutes.. it is going to bake in the oven for about 20 more minutes so don’t think you have to completely cook the chicken here… we want to just blanch it… other wise it will come out as tough rubber if we over cook it..



Add your cheese and some salt and stir until cheese is melted



Remove from heat and add a layer of chips to your baking dish..



Spoon half of the mixture over chips




Add the rest of the chips and sauce
Bake 15 minutes





Then add the corn chips that you have crushed lightly…

Bake 10 minutes more

Recipe:
King Ranch Casserole

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas ***
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped fine
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 (10 oz) cans Rotel tomatoes
5 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups canned chicken stock
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (1/2 inch in size)
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (or 2 tsp dried cilantro)
4 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
2 ¼ cups Fritos corn chips, crushed

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tortillas on 2 baking sheets, lightly coat both sides with cooking spray, and bake until slightly crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly and break into bite-sized pieces. Using pot holders, adjust top oven rack to middle position.
2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, and cumin until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook about 1 minute. Add cream and broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add cilantro and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Scatter half of tortilla pieces in 9x13 inch baking dish, set over rimmed baking sheet. Spoon half of filling evenly over tortillas. Scatter remaining tortilla pieces over filling then top with remaining filling.
4. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes (at 450 degrees). Sprinkle Fritos evenly over top and bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool casserole about 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled through step 3 and refrigerated for up to 24 hrs. When ready to serve, cover casserole with foil and bake until filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with Fritos and proceed with rest of step 4 as directed.

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