Let's face it, Tex-Mex favorite King Ranch Chicken Casserole is basically a Mexican lasagna. Packed to the gills with diced tomatoes, green chiles, chopped bell pepper, cheddar cheese, and stacked with corn tortillas in a baking dish, King Ranch Casserole is the epitome of Texas comfort food.

What is King Ranch Casserole?

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Some say the casserole recipe came about from the 825,500-acre King Ranch in South Texas, however, the family has since debunked the myth. Now the casserole is found at potlucks and church suppers.

Today's recipe is a take on the classic with a Midwestern spin. Instead of tortillas, this dish uses tater tots as well as forgoes the traditional cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup. Instead, a homemade creamy sauce is created using chicken broth, sour cream, and heavy cream.

To start, preheat your oven to 425ºF and grease a 13x9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped yellow onions, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, poblano peppers and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, green chili peppers, garlic, flour, chili powder, and salt. Stir the mixture until fragrant and starting to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Add in the stock and heavy cream and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sour cream and add the shredded rotisserie chicken. Season with salt and black pepper if needed.

Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Arrange the tater tots on top of the cheese. Place the dish in the oven and cook until the tater tots are cooked through and the mixture is hot and bubbling and tots are crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving this weeknight casserole.

Watch: Supper vs. Dinner: What's the Difference?

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King Ranch Hot Dish Casserole  

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 4-oz can green chilies
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 28-oz bag tator tots
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 425ºF and grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.

Peppers

Meanwhile melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, poblano peppers and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, green chili peppers, garlic, flour, chili powder and salt. Stir the mixture until fragrant and starting to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Adding chicken broth

Add in the stock and heavy cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adding chicken

Stir in the sour cream and add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Arrange the tator tots on top of the cheese. Place the dish in the oven and cook until the tator tots are cooked through and the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Let this dish cool for about 5 minutes before serving to prevent molten tongues. This dish can be made ahead up to step 4 and refrigerated for 24 hours before topping with cheese and tator tots. Add an extra 10 minutes to cooking time if necessary.

Perfect Pairing

No dinner is complete without a sangria.