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Alexis and I have been on a leftovers purge for the week because our freezers have gotten too full.  Last night, our freezer dive resulted in enough treasures to make Eating Well’s Quick King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Fire Roasted King Ranch Chicken Casserole cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill

Of course, we changed it up a little bit, mainly because of what we had on hand or what we didn’t.  And of course, we did ours on a kamado grill – a large Big Green Egg.  I think the fire roasting absolutely adds to the dish.

Easy skillet dinner recipe for the Big Green Egg kamado grill

Fire Roasted King Ranch Chicken Casserole

adapted from Eating Well’s Quick King Ranch Chicken Casserole March 2019 edition

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon beef tallow or high-temperature cooking oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 poblano, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup NMT Southwestern Dried Tomatoes (click for the recipe – see substitutions below)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups smoked chicken, skinless
  • 2 6-inch corn tortillas, sliced into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Albukirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup smoked cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or green onion

Instructions

  1. Set up your grill for direct heat and preheat it to 400°f (medium-high).  You will switch to indirect heat so if using a kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, etc.), have your plate setter/heat diffuser ready nearby.
  2. Preheat a 10-inch cast iron skillet or another medium sized grill safe pan.  Once the pan is hot, add tallow or oil and saute the onions, poblano, and jalapeno until tender – 8 to 9 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the Dried Southwestern Tomatoes in a small saucepan and cover with the chicken stock.  This won’t simmer, it will just reconstitute the tomatoes.
  3. Add the garlic and cumin to the skillet with onions and chiles and frequently stir for one minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir for another minute.
  4. Take the skillet out of the grill. Then immediately pour the saucepan of stock and tomatoes into the skillet, stirring constantly.  Add in the cream cheese and stir until it is well combined.  
  5. Add the chicken, tortillas, red bell pepper, salt, and Albukirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub to the skillet.  Stir to make sure everything is evenly mixed.  Top with the shredded cheese.
  6. Switch your grill set up to indirect heat and bring the temperature up to 450-500°f.  For a kamado grill, insert the plate setter or heat diffuser. Place the skillet back on the grill, close the lid and let cook until the top is bubbly and golden – about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove, sprinkle with cilantro or green onion and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Substitutions

  • Southwestern Dried Tomatoes – you can substitute with sun-dried tomatoes. In a real bind, you could use a can of fire roasted tomatoes, drained. Just increase the amount of Albukirky Seasonings Green Chile Rub by 1/2 teaspoon.

Cast iron grill heaven - Finex 1 quart pot, Lodge 8sk and a Craycort cast iron grate.
For the skillet, we used a Lodge 8SK, it is just the right size for the casserole. For the tomatoes, I used my Finex cast iron 1-quart pot (Christmas gift from my sister – sweet!).  Not to be left out, the grates were cast iron too – Craycort Grates.

Lodge Cast iron skillet and Craycort modular cast iron grate system

When using a kamado grill like a stove top (stir-frying, sauteing, etc.) there are a few tricks to keep in mind. 

  • I light my fire on one side when possible, as shown above.  That way I can control the heat to the skillet.  If the skillet isn’t hot enough, slide it directly over the hot spot.  If the skillet is too hot, just slide it off of the hot spot.
  • Tighten down airflow.  The frequent opening of the grill is going to cause the fire to start heating up.  I shut the lower vent of a kamado down to about the thickness of a quarter.  Open it back up when the grill lid is shut.
  • Keep hot gloves handy!  It is embarrassingly easy to absent-mindedly reach in to grab a skillet handle barehanded.  
  • Keep the grill lid closed as much as possible.

The Eating Well recipe had you put the skillet under a broiler.  To simulate that in a kamado grill, you want indirect heat and have the skillet as high up in the grill as possible to take advantage of the heat reflecting off of the ceramic dome lid.  I used a spider rig and pizza stone as my heat diffuser.  I used an Adjustable Rig on the highest setting to elevate my skillet.

You could also use a plate setter (aka ConvEggtor) and then any type of elevated grate.  The Naked Whiz has a great tutorial on how to make your own raised grid (cooking grate).

One dish skillet recipe for kamado grills.
The results were delicious!

Chain of Lakes Eggfest – Winter Haven, FL

Our first Eggfest of the year is just next weekend!!  The Nibble Me This BBQ/Grilling Team will be one of many great teams serving fantastic food from the Big Green Egg.  You buy a taster ticket and that lets you sample all of the food for free.  The ticket also includes grilling demos from myself and Lee Ann Whippen (BBQ Pitmasters, Beat Bobby Flay, and Pitmaster of The Deviled Pig).  Craig Tabor has a surprise in store as well.  It will be a day full of friends, fire, and food and it all benefits two wonderful local charities.  Come see us!!