King Ranch Casserole

King ranch casserole

This is a popular recipe in Texas. You see lots of different versions of it. It shows up at potlucks and church dinners.  It’s a crowd pleaser and serves a lot of people for very little money.  Most of the recipes I have seen use a can of cream of mushroom and a can of cream of chicken, but to make your own cream sauce is so much tastier. Gives the dish a much richer flavor.

Cream sauce

1 stick butter

1 med. onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I prefer Bella)

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 cup flour

3 cups chicken stock or broth (this is better homemade also)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 10 oz. Rotel tomatoes

1 small can green chiles, diced

 

Casserole

18 corn tortillas

1/2 cup chicken stock or broth

3 – 4 cups shredded chicken (I like lots of chicken in mine)

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for about 6-7 minutes.  Add the chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer.  Sprinkle the flour into the pan slowly and stir until the flour is incorporated into the mixture.  Whisk in 3 cups of the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth each time.  Whisk in the cream and stir in the diced chiles.  Add the tomatoes.  The cream sauce should be thick, if not allow to cook just a little longer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Place 1/2 cup of the chicken stock in a bowl large enough to hold the unfolded tortillas.  Stack 6 of the tortillas in the bowl, make sure they are covered with stock. .  Line the bottom of the baking sheet with the 6 tortillas, they will overlap about one-third.  Cover with half of the cream sauce.  Add half of the chicken and sprinkle with one-third of the cheeses.  Add 6 more tortillas to the bowl of stock, making sure to cover with stock.  Layer these on top, making sure they overlap about one-third.  Top with the cream sauce, the rest of the chicken and one-third of the mixed cheeses. Place the rest of the tortillas in the bowl of stock, flip them if needed to make sure that each one get dipped in the stock.  Place a layer on top, making sure they overlap. Top with the rest of the cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour till hot and bubbly.  Should be lightly browned on the top.  Remove from oven and let sit at least 10 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve.

You can make this casserole in advance (no more than 3 days) or even make it and freeze it (no more than 3 weeks)

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