TCP Kitchen
One-Dish Dinners
Meals so good you’ll find yourself going for seconds

King Ranch Chicken
Oxmoor House

Building a Better Casserole

1. Use ingredients that add complex flavors, such as fire-roasted canned tomatoes, corn, jalapeño or peppered bacon, or Italian or Mexican grated cheese blends.

 

2. Add a topping for extra flavor or texture: breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs (tossed with butter or olive oil and flavored with herbs and garlic); grated, full-flavored cheeses (e.g., sharp cheddar or Parmesan); crumbled bits of crispy bacon; crushed potato or tortilla chips; or fried onions.

 

3. Using more than one meat yields a richer flavor. Consider combining ground beef with ground pork, sausage or lamb, and using both light and dark poultry meat.

When Texas Co-op Power asked readers for their best one-dish meals, we received casserole, skillet-dinner and stew recipes galore, many handed down through generations or inspired by memories. Jessica Dupuy’s cookbook United Tastes of Texas maps a similar style of cuisine. The 125 recipes are inspired by five regions and show settlers’ culinary influences. With smoked chicken, green chiles and cheese, Dupuy’s King Ranch Chicken casserole embodies one-dish goodness, no matter where you live. 

King Ranch Chicken


“Though not an invention of the famed King Ranch—it’s more likely the invention of a Junior League member,” Dupuy writes, “the spicy flavors of chili powder, roasted peppers and cumin never fail to please.”

Vegetable cooking spray
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped poblano peppers (about 2 medium peppers)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, 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 chicken broth
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 pounds (about 5 cups) smoked or roasted chicken, coarsely chopped
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
18 corn tortillas (6-inch)
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté 8–10 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute.

3. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1–2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Add tomatoes and sour cream.

4. Stir together chicken and cilantro, then stir in vegetable mixture.

5. Combine cheeses in a bowl.

6. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil, then fry in batches until lightly browned and crisp.

7. Line bottom of prepared baking dish with 6 fried tortillas, overlapping slightly. Top with half of chicken mixture and one-third of cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese.

8. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 12.

From United Tastes of Texas (Oxmoor House, 2016), used with permission