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Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,766
Registered: ‎07-02-2015

KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

Over the years, I've saved several versions of this casserole recipe (which some refer to as the state food of Texas, from what I've read).  Yet I've never made it myself and want to try it soon.

 

Do you have any suggestions for improvements or changes?

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KING RANCH CASSEROLE

 

2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 poblano peppers, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
12 (8-inch) corn tortillas
4 cups chopped, cooked chicken (see note)
8 ounces shredded medium cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

In  large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and poblano peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and translucent, about 7 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the soups, Ro-Tel, broth, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Stir to combine and season to taste with pepper.

Stack and cut the tortillas into four equal pieces. Quartered is best for round baking dishes; strips are best for rectangular or square dishes. 

Evenly spread half of the chicken across the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish. Top with half of the soup mixture, followed by half of the tortillas, then half of the onion mixture and, finally, half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order. 

Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking until the cheese is browned and the casserole is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 57,639
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

Its going to be pretty spicy so if that isn't to you're taste, I'd cut down on some of the heat-producing ingredients like the Ro-tel tomatoes and use plain instead.  Sounds good.  I've made similar casseroles for years that often contain torn pieces if tortilla. 

New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Super Contributor
Posts: 466
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

I also love the King Ranch Mac and Cheese with Chicken.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,478
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

[ Edited ]

An ex-coworkers recipe for this dish doesn't call for soup:

 

12 small (I'm guessing 6") corn tortillas

1 tbsp butter

2 cups chopped onions

2 tsp cumin

2 cans Ro-tel tomatoes

5 tbsp flour

1 cup heavy cream

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 lb Co-jack cheese, cubed

2 1/4 cups Fritos, crushed

 

Halve chicken breasts lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2" slices.

 

Bake tortillas on 2 greased baking sheets at 450 degrees until browned, about 12 minutes.  Let cool, then break into bite-sized pieces.

 

Cook onions and cumin in melted butter in big pot until light brown.  Stir in Ro-tel and cook 10 minutes.  Stir in flour for a minute.  Stir in cream and broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.  Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink.  Take off heat and stir in cheese until melted.

 

Place half of tortilla pieces in 9x13" baking dish set on a baking sheet.  Evenly spread half of filling over tortillas.  Place rest of tortilla pieces over filling.  Spread rest of filling on top. 

 

Bake in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle Fritos over top and bake for 10 more minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes.         

 

 

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,106
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

Mine looks like a simple version. I can't say it's improved or better, but we like it.

 

King Ranch Chicken

 

1/4C Butter

1 Med Green Pepper, Chopped

1 Med Onion, Chopped

1 Can Cream Of Mushroom Soup

1 Can Cream Of Chicken Soup

10oz Can Ro-Tel Tomatoes

2C Cubed Cooked Chicken

12 Corn Tortillas (Torn into bite size pieces)

2C Shredded Cheddar

 

In sauce pan, cook peppers & onion in butter until tender. Add soups, tomatoes & chicken. In a 9X13 pan alternate layers of tortillas, soup mixture & cheese, repeating layers.

Bake for 40 mins at 350.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 27,232
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

I think this is the one I used, the classic from Southern Living magazine.  I LOVE this stuff!
 
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
 
 
Prep:
35 mins
Cook:
35 mins
Total:
1 hr 10 mins
Yield:
Makes 6 to 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can diced tomato and green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinches garlic powder
  • 2 pinches pepper
  • 12 corn tortillas, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Directions
  • Step 1

    In a large skilled over medium-high heat, sauté bell pepper and onion 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken and next 7 ingredients; remove from heat.

  • Step 2

    Layer one-third of torn tortillas in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third of chicken mixture and 2/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

Chef's Notes

Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,174
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

@novamc1 I got a lower calorie, healthier version from wellplated dot com. It was really tasty and my hubby just asked me to make it again.

 

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,088
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

[ Edited ]

@novamc1 - I agree with @Kachina624 - you've got some heat in there! I would probably eliminate the cayenne, and I might cut the poblanos in half. I think with the way it is it would be tasty, but for those who can't take spicy foods much it might be too much. 

 

I learned about King Ranch chicken when we lived in Texas. One of my regrets was never visiting the actual ranch. I saw it once from the car (of course it's huge), but that was it. I heard this dish originated from the workers' families on the ranch a long, long time ago!

 

Here are my two. The first is the one I learned to make shortly after we got there. The second is from my best friend there, a native born and bred Texan. We still keep in touch, and I saw her shortly before the pandemic started.

 

I've tried many variations of this. Some my family likes, some they don't. These two are my favorites: 

 

Easy King Ranch Chicken

 

I stick butter or margarine

I med. onion, chopped

15 corn tortillas

3 cups cooked chicken, cut into pieces

3 cans cream of chicken soup

1 small can chopped green chilies

8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

 

Melt butter in pan. Saute chopped onion until soft. Tear tortillas into bite-sized pieces and place in large bowl. Mix in chicken, soup, chilies, and onion.. Mix well then place in 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Freezes well, but defrost before baking.

 

King Ranch Chicken 

 

One whole chicken, 3-4 lbs.

2 onions, chopped and divided

2 ribs celery, chopped

salt and pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

12 corn tortillas

1 large green pepper, chopped

chili powder

garlic salt

1 can Rotel tomatoes, undrained

 

Boil hen until tender in water seasoned with one onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Remove and cut into bite-sized pieces. Reserve stock. Combine soups and grated cheese. Before assembling casserole, soak the tortillas in boiling chicken stock until softened. Start layering casserole in a 9 x 13 dish in this order: softened tortillas, chicken, onion, bell pepper, chili powder and garlic salt to taste, and soup mixture. Repeat the layers. Cover the casserole with the undrained Rotel. Juices in the casserole should be about half the depth of the dish. If not, add a little more stock. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6-8. If possible always make a day ahead and refrigerate before baking so the flavors will blend. 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,631
Registered: ‎07-18-2010

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?


@deepwaterdotter wrote:

An ex-coworkers recipe for this dish doesn't call for soup:

 

12 small (I'm guessing 6") corn tortillas

1 tbsp butter

2 cups chopped onions

2 tsp cumin

2 cans Ro-tel tomatoes

5 tbsp flour

1 cup heavy cream

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 lb Co-jack cheese, cubed

2 1/4 cups Fritos, crushed

 

Halve chicken breasts lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2" slices.

 

Bake tortillas on 2 greased baking sheets at 450 degrees until browned, about 12 minutes.  Let cool, then break into bite-sized pieces.

 

Cook onions and cumin in melted butter in big pot until light brown.  Stir in Ro-tel and cook 10 minutes.  Stir in flour for a minute.  Stir in cream and broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.  Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink.  Take off heat and stir in cheese until melted.

 

Place half of tortilla pieces in 9x13" baking dish set on a baking sheet.  Evenly spread half of filling over tortillas.  Place rest of tortilla pieces over filling.  Spread rest of filling on top. 

 

Bake in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle Fritos over top and bake for 10 more minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes.         


Thank you for this version, any receipe with two cans of soup has to be loaded with sodium.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,766
Registered: ‎07-02-2015

Re: KING RANCH CASSEROLE--any suggestions?

[ Edited ]

Great suggestions, folks. Thanks a lot.  Now I just have to review all the recipes I already have, plus your suggestions and make something good.

 

We like Tex-Mex and Southwestern-type dishes.  Can't believe I haven't tried this one yet.  Really appreciate the advice about "too much heat" in the seasoning.  We like things hot, but don't like to set ourselves on fire!!