COWBOY CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Contributed By: Kay Davis

Ingredients:

a. 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
b. 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
c. 1/2 cup dry white wine
d. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
e. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
f. 2 garlic cloves, smashed
g. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
h. 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
i. 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
j. 2 bay leaves
k. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
l. 1 pound white button mushrooms, wiped clean and stems trimmed,
m. Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
n. 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
o. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
p. 6 cups tortilla chips
q. 2 cups finely chopped onions
r. 1 cup finely chopped bell peppers
s. 2 jalepe˝nos, stems and seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)
t. 8 ounces grated Pepper Jack cheese
u. 8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
v. 1 tablespoon Emeril's Southwest Essence
w. 2 teaspoons chili powder
x. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
y. 1 cup chopped drained canned tomatoes
z. One 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained

Method:

Combine the chicken, Chicken stock, wine, cilantro, lime juice, garlic,peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the oregano, & bay leaves in a medium saucepan & bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer & cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat & allow the chicken to cool in the poaching liquid for 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid &tare or cut into bite-size pieces.
Reserve the chicken. Strain the cooking liquid & reserve.

Preheat the oven to 350║F.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over high heat until foamy.

Add the mushrooms, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, & the black pepper
& cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid.

Continue to cook until the mushrooms are golden brown &all the liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour, stir to blend, & cook for 1 minute.

Add the milk & stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
Cook until the mixture begins to thicken.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken cooking liquid,
stir, & cook until very thick & flavorful, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat.

Place the tortilla chips in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass casserole dish.
Crush the chips with your handsso they form a thin layer on the bottom of the dish.

Pour 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid over the tortilla chips &allow them to soak up the liquid.

Scatter the chicken over the top of the tortilla layer.
Spread the chopped onions, bell peppers, & jalape˝nos evenly over the chicken.
Top with half of the grated cheeses.
Sprinkle with the Southwest Essence, chili powder, & cumin.
Spoon the reserved mushroom mixture evenly over the top of the spices,
then top with the tomatoes & green chiles.
Cover with the remainder of the cheeses.

Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes, or
until the cheese is bubbly & the casserole is heated through.

Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.


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