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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Published: Friday, February 8, 2019

4½ to 5 lb. whole chicken*

2 celery ribs, cut into 3 pieces each

2 carrots, cut into 3 pieces each

2½ to 3 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

10¾ oz. can cream of mushroom soup

10¾ oz. can cream of chicken soup

2 (10 oz.) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. Mexican-style chili powder**

3 c. grated sharp Cheddar cheese

12 (6") fajita-size corn tortillas, cut into ½" strips

If applicable, remove giblets from chicken, and reserve for another use. Rinse chicken. Place chicken, celery, carrots and salt in a large Dutch oven with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken is done. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth; cool 30 minutes. Remove and reserve ¾ cup cooking liquid. Strain any remaining cooking liquid, and reserve for another use.

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 6-7 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper and garlic, and sauté 3-4 minutes. Stir in reserved ¾ cup cooking liquid, cream of mushroom soup and next 5 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.

Skin and bone chicken; shred meat into bite-size pieces. Layer half of chicken in a lightly greased 13x9" baking dish. Top with half of soup mixture and 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Cover with half of corn tortilla strips. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake at 350° for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. —8 to 10 servings.

*Can substitute a 2 lb. skinned, boned and shredded deli-roasted chicken for whole chicken and use ¾ cup chicken broth for cooking liquid. Omit celery, carrots and salt.

**1 tsp. chili powder and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper may be substituted for Mexican-style chili powder.

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