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King Ranch Casserole



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King Ranch Casserole

If only I could remember how this recipe came to me, I'd tell you.
Trouble is, I truly don't know! Kaye, was it you? I've been making
this delicious dish  for years. It's the perfect thing for pot lucks.

1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon each salt and chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 cups hot chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup chopped onion
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup diced red bell pepper
One 14-ounce can tomatoes, drained, diced
1 cup sliced ripe olives
4 ounces chopped green chilies
1 cup oil
One 9-ounce package corn tortillas,
cut into 1/2-inch strips
4 cups cooked chicken, diced
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese,
shredded (3 cups)

In a heavy saucepan over moderate heat sauté garlic in 2 table-
spoons butter. Stir in flour, salt, chili powder, cumin and red pepper
until smooth and well blended. Gradually add hot broth and half-and-
half. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth; set aside.
In large skillet in remaining 2 tablespoons butter cook the onions,
mushrooms and 1/2 cup red bell peppers about 5 minutes or until
the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and green chilies. Cook,
stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until juices have evaporated.
In another skillet heat at least 1/4 inch oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the
tortilla strips in batches until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper
towels; set aside. Spread half the tomato mixture in greased 3-quart
shallow baking pan.
Layer with half of tortilla strips, chicken, reserved broth mixture and
cheese. Repeat layers, ending with cheese. Top with remaining 1/2 cup
red bell peppers. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees F., or until bubbly.
Makes 6 generous servings.

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