King Ranch Casserole

This recipe is well worth the effort. The homemade chicken stock is fragrant and rich. I used poblano chilies due to New Mexico chilies being out of season at my local grocer. They were a decent substitute. I left the seeds intact since my husband I prefer our Mexican food spicy. The cream sauce is heavenly and I can see this sauce being an excellent base in other Mexican casserole recipes. The sauce is a homemade, rich cream of mushroom crossed with a creamy tomato green chili sauce. It is utterly superb. I would add more salt and pepper to taste though.

My main recommendation for this dish would be to cover it with aluminum foil for 45 minutes and then remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. That way the top does not get too crispy. Another alternative would be to smother the entire top with cheese, which would likely mean calling for another 1-1/2 cups of Monterey/sharp cheddar blend.

This makes excellent leftovers!

King Ranch Casserole

From The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather.

Chicken and Stock:
1 whole stewing chicken
2 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
10 whole peppercorns
5 quarts water

Roasted Chiles:
3 New Mexican green chiles (Poblanos may be used as substitute)

Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock (above)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
Roasted, diced New Mexican green chiles (above)

Casserole:
18 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

To prepare the chicken and stock: place the chicken, carrots, celery, and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer the stock for 1 hour, uncovered. (The liquid level should drop by about 1 inch.) Turn the heat as low as possible and simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. Remove the chicken from the warm stock and refrigerate it. Use a large strainer to drain the chicken broth into a large container. Discard the vegetables and refrigerate the stock. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and pull the meat off the bones. Cut or shred it and set aside. Measure 3 1/2 cups of the stock for use in the recipe; save the remainder for another use.

To roast the chiles: Preheat the broiler. Broil the chiles about 2 minutes per side, until blackened on all sides. Remove from the broiler using tongs or oven mitts and enclose in a paper bag to sweat for 5 minutes. Remove the chiles from the bag and peel. Slice in half, and remove and discard the stems and seeds. (If you like your foods hot and spicy, keep some of the seeds.) Dice the chiles.

To make the cream sauce: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté on medium-low heat about 7 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer. Sprinkle the flour in the pan, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until the white of the flour is no longer visible. Whisk in 3 cups of the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the cream and stir in the diced roasted chiles. Add the tomatoes. The cream sauce should be thick.

To make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Place 1/2 cup of the stock in a bowl large enough to hold an unfolded tortilla. Stack the tortillas in the bowl, 6 at a time, until ready to layer in the baking pan. Make sure all of the tortillas are amply covered in stock. Line the bottom of the prepared pan with a layer of 6 tortillas, making sure each tortilla overlaps the previous one by about one-third. (A thick layer of tortillas will make it easier to cut the casserole once it’s cooked.) Cover the tortillas with half of the cream sauce. Add half of the chicken and sprinkle with one third of each kind of cheese. Add a second layer of 6 soaked tortillas, the remaining cream sauce and chicken, and another third of each kind of cheese. Top with the remaining 6 tortillas and the rest of the cheese.

Bake the casserole for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until hot, bubbling, and lightly browned on top. Remove the casserole from the oven and let sit about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. The cooked casserole can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 weeks.

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One response to this post.

  1. This sounds, and looks very good:)

    Reply

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