King Ranch Casserole

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Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 6 to 8

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

If you can't find Ro-Tel tomatoes, substitute one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and one 4-ounce can chopped green chiles. Cojack is a creamy blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses. We like its tangy flavor, but milder Jack cheese can be used in its place.
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium onions , chopped fine
2 jalapeƱo chiles , minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 (10-ounce) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes (see note)
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
4 cups Cojack cheese (see note)
Salt and pepper
2 1/4 cups Fritos , crushed

Method

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tortillas on two baking sheets, lightly coat both sides with cooking spray, and bake until slightly crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then break into bite-sized pieces. Using potholders, adjust top oven rack to middle position.

2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, and cumin until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add cream and broth, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Off heat, add cilantro and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Scatter half of tortilla pieces in 13 by 9-inch baking dish set over rimmed baking sheet. Spoon half of filling evenly over tortillas. Scatter remaining tortillas over filling, then top with remaining filling.

4. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle Fritos evenly over top and bake until Fritos are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool casserole 10 minutes. Serve.

Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled through step 3 and refrigerated for up to 1 day. When ready to serve, cover casserole with foil and bake until filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with Fritos, and proceed with rest of step 4 as directed.

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