King Ranch Comfort

One of the first dishes someone made me when I moved to Austin a few years ago was King Ranch Casserole. Everyone has their own spin they put on it which makes it fun and easy to adapt based on what you have in your kitchen. For me its the ultimate Tex-Mex comfort food. When I got the chance to visit my friend Tiffany and her adorable baby boy, Easton today I wanted to bring over a dish that was comforting and easy to heat up for the next few days.

I start with shredded chicken tossed in spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can bake or boil the chicken and shred or grab a rotisserie chicken from the store.

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Next sauté up some veggies like peppers and onions. I threw a Poblano pepper tonight for a little kick.

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While veggies are cooking line a greased pan with corn tortilla strips.

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Once veggies have softened add in cream of mushroom and chicken soups and rotel. Once mixture has warmed through add chicken and allow to cook for a few minutes. How much does this look like queso?

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Layer time. Start with half the chicken mixture.

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Now a layer of cheese!

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Repeat with a layer of tortillas, chicken and cheese. Top with smashed pieces of tortilla chips to add a crispy texture crust. Bake for 30-45 min uncovered at 350.

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The trick to getting this casserole on the plate nicely is allowing it to cool for 15 minutes after taking out of oven. I like to top with cilantro and sour cream.

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King Ranch Casserole

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded chicken
  • Spices for chicken (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder, salt, pepper) 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each
  • Diced red and green pepper (you can add spicy peppers as well)
  • Diced white onion
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used the low-fat version)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (I used the low-fat version)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • corn tortillas (8-10 depending on pan size)
  • cheddar cheese (about 3 cups shredded)
  • Tortilla chips for topping
  • Sour cream and cilantro for topping

Directions

  1. Mix spices with shredded chicken and set aside to marinate
  2. Saute peppers and onions for about 5 minutes
  3. Add can of Rotel and mix well
  4. Add the soups and mix well and allow to warm thoroughly
  5. Add chicken and mix, allow to cook for about 5 minutes
  6. While mix is cooking, line a greased baking pan with tortilla strips
  7. Start layers with half of your chicken mixture
  8. Top chicken layer with half shredded cheese
  9. Add another layer of tortillas
  10. Repeat layer of chicken, cheese
  11. *Optional top the casserole with crushed tortilla chips to create a crispy crust
  12. When plated you can top with sour cream, cilantro and hot sauce to tasta
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