When it comes to covered dish suppers, potlucks, or even busy weeknights, Southerners know that King Ranch Chicken reigns supreme. The familiar combination of pulled chicken, spicy green chiles, corn tortillas, and creamy canned soup takes us back to a dining table, surrounded by our loved ones. While the King Ranch Chicken recipe has roots in the Lone Star State, it’s beloved by savvy home cooks around the South and beyond. Variations on the casserole (dare we say the best chicken casserole, ever?) appear in Junior League cookbooks across our region. Next time you’re craving comfort food, pull out your 13×9 casserole dish and whip up a little taste of Texas. One cheesy, creamy bite and you’ll be hooked.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (such as RO*TEL(R))
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 cooked chicken, torn into shreds or cut into chunks
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
10 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Saute onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper in hot oil until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Combine onion-pepper mixture, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, sour cream, cumin, ancho chile powder, oregano, and chipotle chile powder together in a large bowl and stir until sauce is well-combined.
Spread a few tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread 1/2 the chicken over the sauce. Spread about half the sauce over the chicken and top with 1/3 the cheese. Spread a layer of tortillas over the cheese. Spread remaining 1/2 the chicken over the tortillas, and top with almost all of the remaining sauce, reserving 1/2 cup sauce. Top with 1/3 the cheese, remaining tortillas, the reserved 1/2 cup sauce, and remaining 1/3 cheese.
Bake casserole in the preheated oven until bubbling, about 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to broil. Broil the casserole until top is golden, 2 to 3 minutes more.