Today’s Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole is a delightful meal, perfect for these still-cold days of early spring. Soon it will warm up, the snow will melt, and we will be luxuriating in the sunny days. But until that happens, this casserole and other comfort foods will keep us warm and filled.
This recipe is adapted from one on the Delish website. The original uses canned cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup which usually contain gluten. In this recipe you make your own cream of chicken as the base for the sauce and then I’ve added sliced mushrooms for flavor and texture.
The creamy sauce is sandwiched between layers of gluten-free corn tortillas that add corn flavor and a little texture to the dish. The chili powder, cumin, and green chiles give it some heat and a bang of Tex-Mex flavor.
The use of the word “ranch” in the title might have you thinking it contains ranch dressing, but this recipe is said to be named for a ranch in Texas, King Ranch. There is always discussion about the recipe’s origins, but never any doubt that it is delicious and easy to make.
This casserole takes advantage of common pantry ingredients and pre-cooked chicken making it a weeknight meal that you can get on the table fairly quickly. You can roast your own chicken ahead of time, use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or repurpose leftovers from another dinner.
The unexpected ingredient in this recipe is the corn nuts on top. A couple of years ago I had a meal at a restaurant in Sacramento, and was served a Mexican dish that came with corn nuts. I was excited by the incredible crunchiness and texture and couldn’t wait to use them in my own kitchen! I hope you enjoy the surprise crunch with the creamy casserole.
I really hope you love my version of Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole and that it makes you and your whole family happy! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
Be sure the corn tortillas you use are gluten-free – many varieties have wheat added!
Creamy King Ranch Chicken Casserole (Gluten Free)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 poblano, seeded and chopped, optional
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced thickly
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup (30 g) gluten-free all-purpose flour blend or all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups milk or half and half
- 1-1/2 cups gluten-free chicken broth
- 1 (15 oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp chopped mild green chiles, preferably Hatch brand
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground chipotle, optional
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
- 12 to 18 gluten-free corn tortillas
- 4 cups cooked shredded or cubed chicken
- Sour cream, optional
- Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnishing
- Chopped chives, for garnishing
- Corn nuts, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Make the Sauce: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, poblanos, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking another minute. Sprinkle the flour blend into the pan, stirring to fully coat the vegetables. Slowly pour in the milk and chicken stock, whisking so there are no lumps in the sauce. Simmer about 5 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Add the tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, chipotle, cumin, and a pinch each of salt and pepper or to taste. Remove from the heat.
- Toss the two shredded cheeses together in a bowl.
- Assemble the Casserole: Layer 4 to 6 of the tortillas in the bottom of the oiled baking pan, overlapping them, to cover the surface. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the tortillas, top with half the chicken and 1/3 of the cheese. Add another layer of 4 to 6 more tortillas, another 1/3 of the sauce, remaining chicken, and 1/3 of the cheese. Finish with another layer of 4 to 6 tortillas, the remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake until the casserole is heated through, bubbling around the edges, and the cheese has melted, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before spooning out servings. Add a dollop of sour cream to the top if desired. Add the cilantro and sprinkle the chopped chives over each serving. Garnish with Corn Nuts for a nice crunch if you want.
Adapted from a recipe on Delish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 617Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 595mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 34g
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