Monday, January 18, 2010

Sierra Vista Chicken Casserole recipe

This recipe is my own variation of King Ranch Casserole, named after Sierra Vista, Arizona, the lovely city in which I lived for 15 years.
Sierra Vista Chicken Casserole
1 to 1.5 pounds chicken thighs
¼ C apricot or peach preserves
½ C picante sauce
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 C pineapple juice
juice of one lemon
½ C white wine
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup black olives
1 can corn kernels
¾ cup Anaheim peppers, diced
2 C shredded cheddar cheese, reserving some for topping, most inside casserole
2 C tortilla chips, crushed, reserving some for topping, most inside casserole
½ pound cooked pasta
Chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Brown chicken in a large pot. Mix preserves and picante; spread over chicken. Roast chicken in oven until done, about 45 minutes.

While chicken is roasting, saute onion and garlic in same pot. Mix pineapple juice, lemon juice, soy sauce and white wine. Turn heat to high and deglaze pot with juice mixture. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook on very low heat until liquid is reduced to about half by evaporation. (Slow cooker alternative: Place chicken, pineapple juice, and soy sauce in slow cooker until done: 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high). Drain liquid into sauce pan and simmer on low heat to reduce liquid by evaporation to less than 1 cup. Remove chicken from bone and set aside. (Make chicken stock from bones for use in another recipe.)

Mix black olives, corn kernels, and chiles, and Anaheim peppers, and chile powder, salt, and pepper. In a large buttered casserole dish, twice layer pasta, chicken, corn mixture, cheese. Pour liquid reduction over cassrole, top with crushed tortilla chips and more cheddar. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing foil last 10 minutes.