Friday, February 28, 2014

Chicken Taco Casserole

Earlier this week I posed a question. And this was my social media-conversation with a friend from high school.

What's on your dinner table?
  • Jill Chicken taco casserole! Nothing you'd ever make (too easy and too many canned foods involved) but I'm pretty sure it'll be a crowd pleaser!
  • Camilla @Jill, that sounds like something my boys would LOVE...well, not the canned part...but they love chicken tacos. What else goes in there?
  • Jill Chicken, salsa, black beans, cream of chicken soup... then layer with cheese and tortilla chips
  • Camilla Okay, Jill. I'll give it my own twist sometime. Maybe this weekend. I'll keep you posted.
  • Jill Forgot to mention sour cream mixed in too. I'd love to see your version!

The discussion took just a few minutes, but had me mulling over possibilities all week. And it resulted in the birth of this recipe - Camilla's Chicken Taco Casserole! I got it down to 1 can, 1 jar, and a bag of chips...not bad. ;)

1-2 lbs organic chicken thighs, cubed
3 leeks, trimmed and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 C shredded cabbage
4 T butter
4 T flour
1 C organic duck stock (hey, it's what I had in my freezer!)
1 C whole milk
2 T tequila
1/2 C sour cream + more for garnish
freshly ground salt
freshly ground pepper
1 can organic black beans
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 C salsa verde
3 C shredded cheese (I used 1 C mozzarella, 1 C medium cheddar, and 1 C provolone)
blue corn tortilla chips
1 avocado for garnish, cubed

I swapped out the cream of chicken soup for a thickened duck stock-milk gravy. Start with a basic roux....

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture is smooth and bubbling. Remove from heat and pour in the milk and duck stock. Place the pot back on the heat and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Boil and whisk until thickened to desired consistency. Stir in the sour cream and tequila. Season with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, flat-bottom pan, saute your leeks, celery, and carrots in a splash of olive oil. Cook until they are softened and the leeks are becoming transparent. Add in the chicken and brown till completely cooked. Add in the cabbage and black beans and cook till warmed through.

Stir in the salsa verde, 1 C of mixed cheese, 1/2 C sour cream, and the cream sauce. Butter your baking dish and spoon half of the chicken into the dish. Cover it with a layer of corn chips and 1 C of cheese. Spoon in the rest of the chicken. Cover that with a layer of corn chips and the rest of the cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. The casserole should be bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream, cubed avocado, and another drizzle of salsa verde.

Funny story: as I was layering this all together, Jake walked into the kitchen. "I've had that before. It's a casserole, right? You don't normally make casseroles."

I know. I told a friend of mine from high school that I would try to create a fewer-cans version.

"Cool. The kind I've had only had the chips on the top - not layered inside like a Mexican lasagna."

Yeah, well, I never saw a photo. So I made it up.

Mexican lasagna. Sounds like something I would make.

The verdict: "The taste was good, Mom, but we don't understand the chips." Okay. Me neither.

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