Category Archives: Mexican

King Ranch Casserole featuring Hatch Chilies

King Ranch Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium due to number of steps
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King Ranch Casserole featuring Hatch Chiles
King Ranch Casserole
King Ranch Casserole

Texans are quite familiar with the King Ranch Casserole. It’s basically our version of lasagna (instead of pasta we use corn tortillas, instead of mascarpone we use sour cream mushroom sauce, instead tomatoes we use Rotel with green chilies, instead of mozzarella we use cheddar/Monterrey jack.) I mentioned earlier Louis Lambert’s cookbook “Big Ranch, Big City” and I also highlighted that it is Hatch Chili season. I adapted this recipe from his version of “Creamy Chicken Casserole with Hatch Chiles”. Froze half for use in the fall.

This recipe takes no short cuts so you poach your chicken; create scratch broth and mushroom sour cream sauce. The payoff is worth it because the flavors are amazing combining earthiness from the cumin, roasted hatch chilies and jalapenos, the creaminess from the cheeses and sour cream mushroom sauce, the heat from the cayenne, chilies, jalapenos, Tabasco, and the heartiness from the chicken. Comfort dish for the fall , winter and for company.

King Ranch Casserole
King Ranch Casserole

Ingredients:
Poached Chicken
3 chicken breasts
3 thighs
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tps dried oregano
1 bay leaf
5 shakes of Tabasco
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups of water
Casserole
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups of diced mushrooms
¼ cup All Purpose Flour
1 can of Rotel (diced tomatoes and chilies)
1 cup of Sour Cream
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
8 scrapes of fresh nutmeg
8 Roasted Hatch Chiles (skinned, seeded and diced)
2 diced and seeded jalapenos
1 cup of cilantro (we use more than most might)
2 cups of cheddar cheese (freshly shredded – no packaged stuff)
1 cup of Monterrey jack cheese (freshly shredded – no packaged stuff)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Directions: Poach your chicken by adding everything in a large pot and bring it to a boil. I tried Lambert’s technique of cooking for 5mins, then covering it for 1min and then turn off the heat and let it cook through for about an hour. I have never tried it this way. Let it cool and then pull your chicken out and cube it up or pull it into chunks. Strain the liquid and save the veggies and 2.5 cups of liquid. Save the rest for future use.

Preheat 350. Now make the sour cream mushroom sauce by putting a skillet on high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 4mins. Add your butter and let it melt then your flour until it is paste / rue like. Now add the chicken stock you set aside and the vegetables you removed from the strainer. You will reduce this while stirring for a 10mins. Now add your Rotel, sour cream, Hatch chiles and Cilantro and let it cook for a few minutes to incorporate fully. Remove from heat and set aside.
Assemble: you should have three bowls with chicken, the sauce and your shredded cheese. Hit your tortillas on a skillet for a minute to soften them. Take a 9×13 greased plan you will make three layers. Tortillas, 1/3 of mixture, then cheese… repeat twice more and bake it covered for 15mins and then 30mins uncovered to brown the cheese.

King Ranch Casserole Lambert style
King Ranch Casserole Lambert style

Hatch Green Chili Pork Pot

Hatch Green Chili Pork Pot

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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My wife bought me Louis Lambert’s cook book called Big Ranch, Big City.  Given that it is Hatch chili season, I immediately skimmed recipes that included or could accommodate this green goddess from Hatch, NM.  It’s close to the original but I increased the tomatoes, added beer and seasoning.

This is a fiery pot of earthiness. The cumin, ancho chili powder, cilantro and Hatch green chilies really ground this dish. The heat isn’t a punch you in face kind of heat but that lovely slow building heat that after the forth bite has you sweating and sniffling. Probably not a first date dish unless you’re cruel or hell bent on hooking up with a fire breather. Come to think of it, serving it to certain people might actually be fun to watch.

You will want a piece of bread or warm tortillas to help you along. If you want to dial back the heat use fewer chilies and make sure you skin the membrane on the inside (white ridges). Chicken could be a nice substitute and as a bonus it would cut down on the cook time. The fat in the pork it takes a little longer to break down.

Enjoy with a beer or milk

IMG_8250

Ingredients:
4 lbs trimmed pork butt and then cubed in to dice sized cuts
4 lbs roasted hatch chilies (skinned, seeded and diced)
2 yellow onions diced
8 garlic cloves minced
2 medium russet potatoes (dice size)
12 cherry tomatoes dice into halves
3 tps dried oregano
3 tps ground cumin
2 tps ground ancho chili
2 tbs Kosher Salt and Pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 beer (shiner bock)
¼ cup of fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Roast the chilies until their skins are blistered (broil in oven or on a grill). Once completed charred put them in a brown bag to steam or a covered bowl.  Skins should rub off. Remove the outer charred skin, cut the top and filet it open to remove seeds. Cut into ribbons and then cut crossways into small “stamps”.
2. Skillet on high heat with flavorless oil to take the heat.  Take the diced pork butt and toss with salt and pepper and add to skillet to get a nice crust on them. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large pot (medium), add olive oil and add diced onion and cook until translucent. Then add your minced garlic for 1 min. Add your tomatoes and spices and cilantro, chilies, browned pork and chicken broth.
Let is simmer to break down the pork ( about 1.5 hours) then add your diced potatoes about 40mins before serving and let them get tender.

Roasted Hatch Green Chilies
Roasted Hatch Green Chilies

Pablano Mexican Chicken Lasagna

Pablano Mexican Chicken Lasagna

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium... it's easy but involved
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I was watching “The Best Thing I Ever Made” on the Food Network. Marcela Valladolid raved about her Pablano Lasagna. I whipped one up and it didn’t disappoint.
However, I thought I could make a few tweaks by bumping up the corn, pablanos and adding chicken.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/corn-and-poblano-lasagna-2-recipe.html

She's a beauty
She’s a beauty

Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
8 pablano peppers
4 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon
1 onion (yellow or white)
3 zucchinis (med to large)
3 jalapeno peppers
6 ears of fresh corn (use 3 – 4 cups and save the rest for another recipe)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 can Rotel 10 oz
1/2 cup chicken Broth
1 pkg “No Boil” lasagna noodles
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups fresh mozzarella (or Marcel used Oaxaca cheese)

Spices:
1tbs Cumin,
2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder,
3 pinches of Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne (optional)

Directions:
1. 24hrs before cooking, marinate your trimmed chicken in your chicken stock, Rotel, squeezed half lemon, cumin, ancho chili powder and cayenne.
2. Day of cooking. Char your pablanos, jalapenos and corn on the grill, stove or in oven (broil). You want the peppers burnt/black/blistered. I also like my corn to have a nice tan too.
3. Save your marinade. Go ahead and throw your chicken on the grill (medium/hot 400 range) and get some nice marks on the them. You will saute them later so don’t cook them fully on the grill.
4. Remove peppers and put them in glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for easy skin removal. I like to keep a little on for taste.
5. Once your corn and peppers are cooled to handle. Take a knife and carefully cut of the corn kernels and put them into a bowl. Also remove the clean skin of the peppers until you have mostly the green flesh. Then filet them open and cut into strips removing all seeds and membranes.
6. Go get your chicken off the grill and set it aside. Again, we just used the grill for marks not for fully cooking the chicken.
7.  Pour yourself a glass of tequila, squeeze a lime and hit it with some agave or simple syrup (which you should always have at the ready). Relax a little.
8. Two pots on the stove. First pot add 2 tsp of butter and your minced garlic on medium heat.  Simmer for a minute and then add corn ( i used about 3.5 cups of corn) and diced jalapenos.  Stir a little and then add the heavy cream, thyme and pinch of cayenne. Reduce heat and let the flavors meld.
9. Second pot: (this is where I could get a lecture but I am alive because heat kills bacteria).  Then slice your onions and chicken very thinly and put them into the pan/ pot and let it simmer with 1bs butter.  Add some marinade or a little chicken stock to keep it moist.
10. Take your corn mixture and put it into the blender (be careful it’s hot and will blow your lid off so let it vent or cool) Blend until smooth.

Now all we do is build the lasagna. Preheat oven to 350. Pour out liquid from our chicken and onions, slice zucchini into thin strips. Take a 9x 13 glass baking dish and ladle corn mixture on the bottom, then three pasta sheets to cover the bottom, then add your chicken and onions (without the marinade – we just used it to keep it moist and cook in some flavor), and now your sliced zucchini and pablanos. Repeat 2x lasagna, corn, chicken, pablanos and cheese, cover in foil.
Bake it for 45/50 mins. Turn on your broiler, remove foil and let it go for 10 mins or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

As Marcela might say…”dat ta da…”

Pablano chicken lasanga