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A little more work intensive than the _cream of something soup_ variations, this is an almost-from-scratch Cook's Illustrated tested and tasted version of probably the most famous casserole in Texas. Notable here is the crisping of the tortillas before building the casserole that keeps them from turning to mush during baking.
- 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
- cooking spray
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, ribbed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 (10 ounce) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes, not drained (see note)
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1⁄2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
- 1 lb monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 2 1⁄4 cups Fritos corn chips, crushed
- Preheat oven to 450°F Lightly coat both sides of tortillas with cooking spray. Lay tortillas on 2 baking sheets and bake until crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly then break into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large pan oven medium-high heat. Cook the onions, jalapeno chiles and cumin until onions are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Ro-tel tomatoes and juices and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and broth, bring to a simmer and cook until thick, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken pieces and cook for another 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
- Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and cheese.
- Scatter half of the tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Spoon half the filling evenly over them. Top with remaining tortilla pieces and filling.
- Bake until the filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with Fritos and bake another 10 minutes or until Fritos are lightly browned. Cool casserole for 10 minutes and serve.
- Make ahead: Casserole can be assembled and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead, excluding Frito topping. When ready to bake, cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with Fritos and bake another 10 minutes.
- ** Cook's note - if you can't find Ro-tel tomatoes, substitute one 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes and one 4-ounce can diced green chilies.