KING RANCH CASSEROLE

22 Jul
 

OKAY, So this is about the Dish you might have heard about , THE KING RANCH CASSEROLE

 

 

Yes , Kristine  , there is a king in Texas

left eye on the media

 

 

 

And he is a cowboy and does have a ranch

      
 Materiality & Spectacle

 

 

 

But that’s not the King we are talking about today.

 

There is also THE KING RANCH in south Texas

 

TOUR TEXAS

“Everything’s bigger in Texas!”  Have y’all heard that a few times?   In the heart of South Texas there’s a ranch that’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island! It’s the world famous, 825,000 acre King Ranch!

Los Kineños
The heritage of King Ranch is a fascinating and critical part of Texas history which is why it’s both a national historic landmark and a popular tourist attraction. In 1853, a successful steamboat captain named Richard King purchased 15,000 acres of untamed land along the Santa Gertrudis Creek. He bought cattle from an impoverished village in Mexico to stock his new ranch. While driving his herd back home, he came to the realization that he just took away the villagers’ main means of survival, so he headed back and invited the people to come work for him on his ranch. Many accepted his offer and became known as Los Kineños, Spanish for the King’s men.

photo_kinenos

They began by raising Texas Longhorns, but later the ranch developed its own breed, the Santa Gertrudis, which is regarded as the first new breed of beef cattle in America! Later generations developed more cattle breeds, planted crops and even raised thoroughbred horses, including Assault, who won the Triple Crown in 1946.

 

 

Alas, that is not were this recipe was perfected. As far as anyone can tell.

It seems that in the it does not appear that this casserole was created at the famous ranch known for its beef and the main ingredient for this casserole is chicken.  It has been said that the ranch owners wife cringes at the thought of this casserole:

One theory attributes that the rise of the popularity of King Ranch casserole coincided with post World War II cooking in the 1950’s.  Canned soups provided more cooking convenience for housewives to free up their time.  It is possible that the Campbell soup company introduced the idea of this casserole in recipe pamphlets that used to be sent to housewives in an effort to sell more product in the stores.

 

 

      

Another theory is the recipe could have been created by a Junior League Society club woman in Texas for one of their cookbooks.

Another rumor is that a lady from Robstown, Texas (which is near the King Ranch) may have entered the recipe in a national cooking contest for either Pillsbury or Campbells and used the name King Ranch since it was catchy.

Most people believe this casserole recipe originated sometime in the 1950’s.  In most cases, the creation of casseroles across the country came from the need for housewives to find inexpensive and filling ingredients to feed a large family or church congregation.
1950’s – Casserole gained popularity with the introduction of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

What’s Cooking, San Antonio Light, (TX), January 23rd 1966 (p.9-G):
“King Ranch Chicken is Mrs. William L Gill’s favorite casserole for luncheon or buffet. It was served to her Christmas Party for the Holly Garden Club of which she was the member for many years.  She finds the casserole a hit with men as well as with women guests.

 

This is the 1950’s recipe using mushroom soup:

Three to four pounds of chicken breasts, boiled until tender, then diced. (reserve stock):

1 dozen fresh tortillas,

1 can cream of mushroom soup,

1 can cream of chicken soup, 

1 cup chopped green pepper,

1 cup chopped onion,

1 tablespoon of chili powder,

pound of grated cheddar cheese.

1/2 small can of tomatoes (10 oz size)

1/2 small can of tomatoes with chiles.

 

Line the bottom and sides of greased 3-quart casserole with a layer of tortillas.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock.

Then make a layer with 1 can undiluted cream of mushroom soup, of the diced chicken and of the other ingredients in order.

Cover with tortillas, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock, and make a second layer with 1 can of undiluted cream of chicken soup and the remaining ingredients.

Top the last layer with 1/2 small can of tomatoes (10 oz. size) and 1/2 small can of tomatoes with chiles.

The casserole may be prepared in advance and refrigerated.  When ready to serve, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 1 hour. Served with a tossed green salad and French bread.”

 

king ranch chicken casserole

 

 

A version based on :

SLIGHTLY FANCY-PANTS KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE by Chris Moore


Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones ( or use a rotisserie chicken)
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp  chili powder
Salt
Pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced     king ranch chicken casserole
1 poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup of chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Vegetable oil, for cooking the tortillas
10 corn tortillas  
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded pepper Jack
3 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar

 

Instructions:
Season the chicken with the 2 teaspoons of the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of the chili powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. There should be about 3 cups of chicken.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium low, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion and peppers are soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in the flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder, and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the chicken broth and cook on low until the mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, the remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and the cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and have ready a 9×13 baking dish.

To heat up the tortillas, add about 1 teaspoon of oil to a large skillet heated on medium-high, and add the tortillas, one at a time, cooking about 30 seconds per side or until softened. Add more oil as needed.

To assemble the casserole, ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.

Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. If you like, top with additional sour cream and cilantro for serving.

 

 king ranch chicken casserole

 

“Eat and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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