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Dine-In: Tex-Mex chicken casserole


One of the only downsides about being a chef is that no one ever wants to invite me over for dinner.  I guess everybody assumes that I’ll go all Gordon Ramsey on them, criticizing their chopping technique and refusing to eat anything that doesn’t meet chef standards, whatever those may be.

The reality is A. I’m always happy when someone else does the cooking and B. I eat pretty much anything, as long as it’s good. In fact, at home, we eat a lot of simple dishes, especially in the winter – soups, casseroles and even one-dish meals. Even a chef doesn’t want to spend hours cooking every night.

This casserole is one of those simple dishes, a kind of Tex-Mex take on chicken lasagna. It has a lot of flavor, but uses short-cuts (canned beans, prepared chicken broth and cooked rotisserie chicken) so you can get dinner on the table without laboring too long in the kitchen.

Tortilla Casserole

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cans (15.5-ounce) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 cups tortilla chips (3 ounces)
2 cups Mexican style cheese, shredded (such as asadero or quesadilla; Monterey jack will also work)

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and bring to simmer.

Stir beans, tomatoes, and chipotle into sauce and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, 3 tablespoons cilantro, ¾ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper.

Spread 1 cup tortilla chips over bottom of 8-inch baking dish and top with 1 cup chicken mixture. Spread 2 more cups tortilla chips into dish and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Spread remaining chicken mixture into dish and top with remaining tortilla chips. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over top.

Bake until cheese is golden brown and casserole is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro before serving.


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