Under the sombrero chicken and rice casserole with nacho topping

Under my sombrero chicken and rice casserole with nacho topping

When I started this blog a short while ago, I had visions of posting recipes for what I term ‘chi chi’ foods – you know the sort don’t you? Recipes that contain truffle oil, quails eggs or matcha powder. Recipes that have 57 ingredients and 5 processes and take 3 days to make – if the wind is blowing in the right direction – capiche? However, most evenings, the very last thing I feel like making is that particular kind of food. Don’t get me wrong, when I entertain, I am more than happy to pull out all the stops, but sometimes the only brief that matters is that it’s hot, fresh, nourishing and hopefully has more nutrition than a cardboard box! Hence, the creation of this little number.  This is not Mexican food – but it is inspired by some of the flavours I associate with it.  I enjoy casseroles, everything cooking in one dish – what’s not to love? In my search to find something different and delicious – the ideas for this casserole began to take root.  Although this dish contains chicken, it could easily serve as a vegetarian meal, by omitting the meat and adding some red/green peppers and Red kidney beans, and using a vegetable soup instead. The end result is a creamy, cheesy, spicy dish made even more delectable by the addition of some homemade guacamole. The teaspoon of chilli powder adds just the right amount of heat for me  – but if you like it hotter, feel free to stir in some chopped green chilli.

Under the sombrero chicken and rice casserole with nacho topping

(Feeds 4-6)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 onion, chopped

2 heaped cups of cooked rice ( I used ordinary white rice)

1 handful fresh coriander, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp chilli powder

1/3 cup milk

1 carton (250ml) sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup grated Tusser cheese ( or gouda, or havarti cheese)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

4 large, skinless, filleted free-range chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 x 400g jar hot or mild salsa ( I used Woolworth’s Hot salsa)

A few handfuls corn chips (I used Woolworth’s corn chips)

For the Guacamole

2 ripe avocados

1/2 bunch chopped spring onions

juice of half a lemon ( or to taste)

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place your cooked rice in a large bowl and add the coriander, cumin, salt and chilli powder. Stir to combine. Heat the olive oil in a non stick pan and cook the onion, until glossy, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add this mixture to the rice. Stir the milk and sour cream into the rice. Using the same pan that you cooked the onions in, cook the chicken, until browned but still tender. Once cooked, add the chicken to the rice mixture, along with a good handful of each cheese, leaving some for the topping.  Add the cream of chicken soup to this mixture, stir to combine and pour into a greased casserole dish. Pour over the salsa, sprinkle with crushed corn chips and the grated cheeses. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve with a scoop of guacamole.

For the guacamole, coarsely mash the peeled avocado in a bowl, add the lemon juice and season to taste. Mix in the spring onions and set aside until ready to serve.



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