Reader Recipe
Ranch Hand Chicken Casserole

Robin Wantland | Lamar EC

“This is a great do-ahead casserole,” Wantland says, and we agree—especially when you want to feed a hearty, satisfying dish to a crowd. You can use a store-bought roasted chicken or simmer your own and use the homemade stock. To intensify the flavor, serve this casserole with wedges of lime, your favorite hot sauce and freshly chopped cilantro.

1 whole cooked chicken
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) corn, drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) black beans
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken stock, plus more for tortillas
12 corn tortillas
4 cups grated cheddar cheese (regular or sharp)

1. Remove meat from the chicken and set aside.

2. Roast the poblanos under a broiler or over a gas flame on a stovetop, turning them evenly as needed until blackened. Allow them to cool in a bowl covered with a dishcloth. Then peel, seed, stem and dice them and set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and garlic 3–5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add the corn, tomatoes, poblanos, black beans, cumin, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; sauté 1–2 minutes and then remove from heat.

4. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat; add the flour and whisk until lightly browned and smooth. Gradually add the milk and chicken stock, stirring until the sauce is thick and smooth. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, stir to combine, and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

5. Heat oven to 350 degrees and butter or apply cooking spray to a 9-by-13-inch casserole.

6. Dip tortillas in additional chicken stock to soften, then slice each tortilla into four strips. Place 1/3 of the tortilla strips in the bottom of the prepared dish and cover with half the chicken. Pour half of the vegetable mixture over the chicken and sprinkle half of the grated cheese. Place another 1/3 of the tortilla strips over the cheese, cover with the remaining chicken, then cover with the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining tortilla strips, sprinkle the remaining cheese and cover tightly with foil.

7. Bake the casserole 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes.

Serves 8–10.

Cook’s Tip

Add a smoky flavor by using diced fire-roasted tomatoes.

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