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King Ranch Chicken

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kay Clark

Hands-on time 1 hr
Total time 1 hr, 35 mins
Yield

Makes 12 servings

Hailing from an era when casseroles were king, this Tex-Mex dish still reigns supreme at church suppers and neighborhood potlucks. Though not an invention of the famed King Ranch--it's more likely the creation of a ladies' Junior League--the spicy flavors of chili powder, roasted peppers, and toasted cumin never fail to please.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped poblano peppers (about 2 medium peppers)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 pounds coarsely chopped smoked chicken (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 18 (8-inch) soft taco-size corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Vegetable cooking spray

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.

  2. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in broth, and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in tomatoes and sour cream.

  3. Stir together chicken and cilantro in a large bowl; stir in vegetable mixture. Combine both cheeses in a small bowl.

  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Lightly brush each tortilla on both sides with oil. Cook tortillas, in batches, in hot skillet 1 to 2 minutes each side or until lightly browned and crisp on both sides.

  5. Line bottom of a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13- x 9-inch baking dish with 6 tortillas, overlapping slightly, to cover bottom of dish. Top with half of chicken mixture and one-third of cheese. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese. Lightly coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray, and cover baking dish.

  6. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes

We tested with Swanson Natural Goodness 33% Less Sodium Chicken Broth.

United Tastes of Texas by Jessica Dupuy, copyright 2015, Oxmoor House.