I'm going to try not to age myself, but a very long time ago when I was in college, I lived next to a very nice HEB grocery store. And this grocery store had a delicious frozen meal that was a poblano chicken casserole. I loved that frozen casserole, and it made for a great dinner on multiple occasions, but then I moved out of HEB territory. I've tried looking it up online, but I'm not even sure they make it anymore. Regardless, I finally got a recipe together that does a pretty decent job of mimicking what I remember of the dish.
Poblano Chicken Casserole
3 poblano peppers
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided use
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon Goya adobo without pepper seasoning
1 (15-ounce) container crema Mexicana agria, or sour cream
½ cup whole milk or half-and-half
1½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided use
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Rub peppers with 1 tablespoon of oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to ensure even charring. Once evenly charred, remove from baking sheet, place in a glass bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let set for 15 minutes to steam. Working carefully to avoid burning your fingers, and using plastic gloves to keep from spreading capsaicin to your eyes or other areas, peel off the charred skin of the peppers and deseed. Dispose of the skin, seeds, and stem, then slice pepper flesh into squares, approximately 1 centimeter square. Set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
In a saucepan, bring chicken stock and butter to a boil, then add the rice, stirring well. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low or low, and simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the chicken stock is absorbed and the rice is tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, toss the chicken chunks with the Goya adobo seasoning. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook, tossing occasionally, until no longer pink. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the reserved poblano pepper squares, crema Mexicana agria, milk, onion powder, and salt. Stir until crema has melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice and the chicken mixture; stir well. Sprinkle in the cilantro and half of the Monterey Jack cheese, then stir well again to combine.
Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray, then spread the rice mixture evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese has browned some.
Makes 6 servings