Last weekend, I managed to combine three desires into one amazing dish, which I’m calling Mexican Layered Casserole.
Desire No. 1: To constantly strive to create winning casserole recipes, because my family loves casseroles and they’re easy.
Desire No. 2: To eat as much Latino-style food as possible, simply because I love the flavors of those cuisines and can never get enough.
Desire No. 3: To find a way to get my husband to eat brown rice instead of insisting on white rice, which has absolutely no flavor or nutritional value whatsoever.
The result was a layered casserole with brown rice, shredded chicken, green chiles, beans, corn, salsa and cheese. Not only did the hubby NOT whine about the brown rice, he actually liked it. This was even after I pointed out that it was brown rice, so no, I didn’t try to trick him the way we used to pass venison off as beef to my great aunt. The secret, you’ll see, is cooking the rice in broth instead of water.
With the holidays approaching, I know we’re all looking for quick and easy meal ideas that won’t take planning and execution time away from our holiday food preparations. As an added bonus, this recipe would be great for leftover turkey. The aggressive flavors of the spices and other ingredients would completely transform the poultry, which is nice when straight leftovers have gotten tiresome.
This is a recipe for the entire family. I hope you all like it as much as we did.
Mexican Layered Casserole
Serves 6 to 8
I think you’ll find that this recipe doesn’t need any extra salt. The sodium in the ingredients, particularly the broth and the beans, make it plenty savory.
1 cup brown rice
2 cups broth (I used one can of chicken broth and stretched it to 2 cups with a dash of water)
1 roasted chicken
2 small cans of diced green chiles
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 can chili hot beans, undrained
1 cup corn kernels
1 1/2 cups salsa of choice (I used mild)
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1. Combine rice and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to simmer and cook 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender to your liking and all the liquid has been absorbed.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Pull all of the meat off the chicken and place it in a medium bowl. Shred it with two forks. Stir in the chiles, cumin and chili powder.
4. Cover the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish with about 1/4-inch layer of rice. Top with chicken in an even layer. Pour off only the liquid on top of the beans in the can, then dump the rest with their remaining juices over the casserole in a single layer. Arrange corn over the beans, then spread salsa evenly over all. Top with cheddar cheese.
5. Bake casserole for about 20 minutes, or until it has heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with a dollop of sour cream.