I feel very nostalgic about traveling in America lately. I miss the atmosphere. I miss the food habits and the fact that eating out is the norm over there. I miss the fact that going from one State to the other, we get to discover various local cultures that are all very strong and unique. I haven’t got the chance to see it all (yet!), but as I can’t travel right now, I’ve decided to start my very own little Food Tour of America… on my plate! I hope this way the nostalgia will fade away and leave more room for daily enthusiasm in my hometown (which I lack a little bit at the moment).
Last night, I’ve traveled to Alabama and made a yummy BBQ White Sauce to dip my crispy schnitzel. Today, let’s go West and visit… Texas! I’m making a Texas Ranch Casserole. I’ve never been to Texas before, and have never eaten nor cooked anything that really comes from there and there only, so this is a full discovery. Because tex-mex food like my 4-Layer Taco Dip doesn’t count, does it? So, for my first homemade Texan dish, I couldn’t just come up with a recipe to invent all by myself of course, so I’ve tried the recipe that was given by my great blogging friend FALAFELINLOVE, who adapted this recipe from Guy Fieri’s, that was originally named Texas King Ranch Casserole.
In the US, or more widely on the Northern American continent, I’ve discovered along my many trips that lots of dishes go by the name of “casserole”. Although we do not have in France such a “put everything altogether and bake in the oven” type of dish, but we do have “gratin” though, which might sound alike but would actually be a little different in the sense that every element of a “gratin” is cooked separately, and then only is assembled before the whole dish is baked in the oven. Therefore, making a casserole will be my first time today.
I want to take the opportunity of this post to introduce Falafelinlove to another blog that she might be interested in. After all, she is the one who inspired me today for cooking and writing, moreover she is a true food adventurer, so it’s very natural that the spotlights can make her shine too! My post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Jazzmine at Dash of Jazz, under the theme “Nostalgia”. I find this project really fun because it pushes innovation and creativity.
Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to offer another picture of my dish that makes it look a little bit different. I must tell that I’ve actually made at once two versions of the original recipe from Falafelinlove, because I was not sure about some details at the end of the ingredients list and cooking directions. The picture on top of the page is my latest successful trial, it’s just perfect. The picture right above this paragraph is my firstly adapted version, with more spices, no flour, and with milk just poured over the dish, a bit here and some more there. End result: the cheese is poorly melting, but the spice mix is firing up in the mouth (which I love!). Also, that picture gives me a chance to show you what’s inside the dish, more or less. The picture down here is the version that follows Falafelinlove’s directions, I’ve used the milk and flour as required and I’ve respected the spices quantities. End result: the cheese is very gooey (and delicious!) and the spice level is more reasonable. As a matter of fact, I’ve chosen to give you here a unique version of that Texas Ranch Casserole, with my friend’s cooking directions but including my own ingredients proportions. Creativity and innovation, we said, right?!
- 2 large chicken thighs with legs (or 2 medium breasts)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 200g of white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 red or green bell pepper
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp of chili powder
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
- 1/2 tsp of cumin
- 1/2 tsp of Cayenne pepper flakes
- 1 small can of peeled tomatoes with juice, diced
- 1 handful of black olives, pitted
- grated cheese
- 3 flour tortillas
- 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
- 60 ml of milk, more or less
- In a saucepan, cook the chicken, bone-in, skin-on. Start on high heat a few minutes on both sides, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan with a lid, and let it cook for about 15 minutes.
- Take the chicken out of the saucepan and let it cool down before you cut it into pieces. Reserve on the side. Dispose of the skin and bones.
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
- In a pan or in the previous saucepan, brown the onion with garlic during 3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and bell pepper dices
- After 3 minutes, add salt, pepper, Cayenne, chili powder, paprika and cumin.
- Stir in while combining with the diced peeled tomatoes in their juices.
- Let simmer during 5 to 10 minutes on low fire.
- Add 2 tbsp of flour and the milk.
- Grease an oven baking dish.
- Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish, cover with a tortilla, add more sauce and set some chicken pieces and black olives.
- Cover with grated cheese.
- Top if with one more tortilla with sauce, chicken, olives and cheese.
- Finish up with a last tortilla. Top with chicken and olives if you still have some (that will depend on the size of the baking dish you use), pour what’s left of sauce and cover with grated cheese in the end.
- Bake in the oven during 30 minutes, that’s about the time the cheese needs to be nicely melted and gooey.
Before you leave this page, I’d be very pleased and honored that you check out the page dedicated to my Cookbook. Moreover, note that there’s a 20% Discount on all purchases made before Christmas, as I think it can be a nice gift to make to a friend or family member! Happy holiday season, everyone!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2015 All Rights Reserved.