Whenever someone mentions they're bringing King Ranch chicken to a pot luck or event, I do a little happy dance. I'll admit, I've never made it before... and have no idea why! The King Ranch was always that last stop for gas on the way to some wild adventure to South Padre Island, but apparently it may have not been the origins of this wildly popular Tex-Mex casserole. Either way, it is fantastic and I'm looking forward to making some again soon.
I based my recipe on the one from Austin's lovely and quite famous Casserole Queens cookbook. Of course I had to place my own stamp on it and added a little roasted poblano, velveeta and other little spices. After I baked it and let it rest, I served it up in individual cocottes, sprinkled my favorite new Kraft brand Mexican Quesadilla Queso, popped it under the broiler and brought it to the table steaming hot. A little Mexican beer such as Pacifico and a fresh salad brought the whole thing together.
4 bone in organic chicken breasts
1 can organic cream of mushroom soup
1 can organic cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 small can rotel
2 tbs velveeta cubes
1 package Mexican cheese blend
1/2 package Kraft Mexican Quesadilla Queso blend
12 corn tortillas
1 large onion, diced
4 whole garlic cloves
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 tbs butter and 1/2 tbs olive oil to sautee onion
1 poblano pepper, roasted in 350 oven 20 minutes, then diced
1 bay leaf
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs dried garlic powder
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs paprika
2 tsp cumin, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
I cooked the chicken in the pressure cooker with a bay leaf, 4 cloves garlic, pinch of cayenne for 40 minutes until tender. You could cook it in a slow cooker or just used rotisserie chicken too.
I don't like soggy tortillas! So I first brushed them with a little olive oil and placed them in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet to crisp up- about 17 minutes. This really helps create a nice stable layer to hold up the casserole. I put the poblano pepper in there too to roast about 30 minutes.
Once the chicken cooled, I manicured and shredded it. I cut the tortillas into quarters, sauteed the onion in the butter and olive oil for 10 minutes, added chopped garlic and sauteed 5 more minutes, diced the poblano pepper and got ready to mix it all together.
After the onions and garlic softened, I added the soups, velveeta, spices, rotel (Hatch brand), broth left over from cooking the chicken and mixed it all together until warmed through.
In a buttered casserole dish, I layered the tortillas, spooned the sauce mixture over them, placed another layer of tortillas, spooned remaining sauce, placed another tortilla layer, sprinkled packet of Mexican cheese blend and baked at 350 for 40 minutes until golden and bubbly.
I sprinkled some cilantro before cutting and adding MORE cheese. Sinful!
I let it cool for about 15 minutes, spooned it into individual ramekins, sprinkled with the Kraft Quesadilla Queso blend, broiled till bubbly and served. What's not to love about a double layer of cheese!!!???
Serves 10- freezes great.