Tag Archives: Big City

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

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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