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Sonora Chicken Casserole

4 cups cooked rice
3 cups cooked chicken (two whole, poached chicken breasts, 
    canned chicken or left over chicken)
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz of grated longhorn cheddar or marbled Colby/Monterey 
    jack cheese
2 (7 oz) cans Herdez Salsa Verde or one jar Arruiba salsa Verde

Cook rice according to package instruction and in the quantity to yield 4 cups of cooked rice.

Prepare the chicken sauce

In a medium skillet or heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook until smooth, about one minute. Add milk and chicken stock. Cook over medium heat. Stir or whisk until the mixture is thick and the flour taste gone. This should take about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken and mix. You should have a creamy fairly thick sauce.

Spray an ovenproof baking dish with non-stick spray. (I use a dish about 9"x12"). Spread the rice evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the chicken mixture over the rice. Do not mix. You want a layer of rice, then a layer of creamed chicken.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the mixture in diagonal stripes about one inch apart until all the cheese is used. Spoon the salsa verde between the cheese stripes so you have diagonal stripes of green and gold across the top of the casserole.

Bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top.

This is a great make-ahead dish. Baking and letting standovernight, improves the texture and makes it easier to serve. Bake the dish according to instructions a day ahead and store in the refrigerator. 15 to 20 minutes before serving, place in 350 degree oven until warmed throughout.

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