Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Casserole (Racetrack Casserole)

I actually tried a new recipe last week for dinner.    Yup I did.    Usually I try new recipes for our Tapas night or Boat Club or a potluck I get invited to.   I rarely try something new for our dinner but I did it last week.     And it was good.   There were some caveats, things I will do a little different.  Like, oh say, wearing my glasses when I'm reading the recipe off of my smart phone, not getting an idea caught in my head, and checking the recipe for accuracy, my accuracy that is, not the the original recipe's accuracy.   Wait a minute, did that make sense?   Oh well.

I've been a fan of the Homesick Texan for years now.  I read her recipes, drool over some of them and have even made quite a few of them.     And they are all good.   Spicy, yummy, full of flavour, good.

This is for the Chicken Tortilla Casserole   on the Homesick Texan site.   You can see how she made it.  

And now for my attempt.   For some reason I 'read' flour tortilla's not corn tortillas, so I used the flour ones instead and ummm, that was a mistake.

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded.
1 3 lb. whole chicken
1 sprig Cilantro
1 tablespoon Peppercorns
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste.

1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and shredded
1/4 cup chicken broth

For the Casserole.
1 yellow onion, diced finely
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped finely  (or use a nice Anaheim pepper which has turned red, which is what I did, the last one on my plant). 
5 Jalapeno's, seeded and diced finely  (I used 3 Jalapeno's, mine were super spicy, and since I always have some in the freezer, this was easy)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1- 10 oz. can Rotel or similar tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
 1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
10 corn tortillas, quartered
2 cups  cheddar cheese, shredded  
2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
4 cups Colby Jack cheese shredded
Salsa, Sour Cream and Guacamole for serving

  I poached the chicken breasts with some celery, carrots,onion and  cilantro, and also added in a couple of jalapeno's.    You can also use a rotisserie chicken here or poach a whole 3 lb. chicken with jalapeno's, cilantro and peppercorns.    I will say that the stock you get from this can also be used for Chicken Tortilla Soup, or add it to some enchilada sauce and stretch it out or use it wherever you need some spicy chicken stock.   Just make sure you label it correctly.  Ummm, I know whereof I speak.  ( It can make your chicken pot pie taste funny if you use the spicy stuff for the sauce.)

Saute the onions, bell or in my case Anaheim pepper, as well as the jalapeno's in about a tablespoon of olive oil, until they are softened and cooked, about 10 minutes or so.   Then add in the garlic and continue to cook for about another 30 seconds, you don't want the garlic to burn, just cook a little.

Then add in the Rotel tomatoes and heat through for a minute or so.   At the last add in the chicken and the reserved 1/4 cup stock.   Cook for a couple of minutes until it's all heated together, adding in the chile powder, thyme and cumin.   Taste for seasoning.   You can add some salt at this point if you like.   I thought there was more than enough salt, so didn't add any.
To assemble the casserole:

Line a greased baking dish, I used an 8x8 pan, as I didn't make as much chicken, with some of the quartered corn tortillas, spread half the chicken mixture over the tortillas.   Sprinkle half the shredded cheese over the chicken.   I used Colby Jack cheese, cause I always have that in my fridge.  And you use what you have a lot of the time, besides which, so many of my recipes call for a mixture of cheddar and monterey jack, so...  Put another layer of tortillas on top of the cheese, the rest of the chicken and the remainder of the cheese.   Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until it's hot and bubbling.

Serve with some sour cream, salsa and guacamole if desired.

Now, for my critique, and this was my fault.   I used flour tortillas instead of corn, and that was a mistake.  The flour tortillas did not work at all.   However, both my DH and I loved the taste of the chicken and thought this would be a great way to have chicken type tacos using the chicken as a filling.   The flavour was wonderful, and both of us enjoyed it immensely.     I will be making this again, but not as a casserole unless I use corn tortillas.   

Sid Munkholm
Sid Munkholm

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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