My Dad’s First Time Eating King Ranch Casserole. I Can’t Stop Laughing

king ranch casserole

If you like cheesy chicken casseroles with a kick to them then you are going to go ape of this yummy King Ranch dish! At first glance, you might think that this recipe is quite lengthy and stressful but I assure you that it is not. King Ranch casserole is one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. I’m very glad that I found this lovely recipe as it is quite delicious. The casserole comes out tasting just as I remembered it.

The meat was tender and juicy, the cheese was cheesy, and it filled my family up after a long day of work and school. I’d say that King Ranch casserole is a winner!


pounds boneless skinless Tyson chicken breast

dried guajillo, cascabel or anaheim chili, or 1 ancho (I used guajillo)

cups College Inn chicken broth

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 pound white mushrooms – stemmed and sliced 1/4″ thick

red bell pepper – 1/4″ dice

poblano peppers – 1/4″ dice

1/2 red onion – 1/4″ dice

teaspoon cumin

large cloves garlic – pressed or minced

cup milk

1/2 cup Gold Medal flour

cup Daisy sour cream

cups grated Kraft jack and cheddar cheese

12 corn tortillas

2 – 14.5 ounces cans diced tomatoes with chilis

Salt and pepper


Poach the chicken – place it in a pan large enough to accommodate the chicken in single layer. (I use my Dutch oven for all of this) Add the dried chilis and the broth. Bring the broth to a simmer, and then simmer gently for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the chicken to sit 10 more minutes. Remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks – I like to keep it in some hunks, but if you want to shred it completely, by all means. Strain the broth and save it.

Melt 3 tbs of the butter over med-high in the pan, and add the mushrooms. Season them with a pinch of salt, and allow them to get brown and crisp. Don’t mess with them too much. Remember Julie and Julia? DON’T CROWD THE MUSHROOMS! You really want crispy brown lovlies. Turn them and brown both sides, then remove them to a bowl. Add another tbs of butter to the pan, and then add both peppers and the onion. Season with a pinch of salt. These don’t need to brown, you really just want to soften them. When they are ready scoop them into a bowl (I just add them to the mushroom bowl)

OK now – add the rest of the butter to the pan, and the cumin. After about a minute, add the garlic, then after another minute add the flour and stir to make a roux. Let that cook for a couple of minutes. Now the whisking starts – whisk in the milk, breaking up and lumps as you go. Then whisk in that broth that you saved. Bring the whole thing to a simmer and keep whisking – it’s not going to get as thick as gravy – but it will be kind of thick. Whisk in the sour cream. NOW – dump the mushrooms peppers and onion back in and taste for salt and pepper. At this point you might be tempted to just add the chicken and eat it as a soup – but forge on.

Heat the oven to 350. Spread half of one of the cans of tomato on the bottom of the baking dish. Cut the tortillas in half, and then arrange the overlapping in the pan – I find 3 up each long side 2 along each short side and 2 down the middle works perfectly. Now spread half the chicken over the tortillas, dd the other half can of tomatoes, then ladle half of that gravy stuff on. Layer the remaining tortillas, chicken, the whole can of tomatoes, then the rest of the gravy. Spread the cheese over the top of the whole thing. Put the casserole on a baking sheet and into the oven. Bake it for about an hour until the cheese is golden brown and everything is bubbly. Allow it to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.



Quick Tip: King Ranch casserole can be made with any kind of poultry meat.



Not the “original” King Ranch Casserole I got when I took Homemaking 111, in High School 50 years ago. This one sounds great, too, just more complicated than mine.

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