When I went to visit my sister last fall I bought a magazine at the airport that she later made fun of me for buying, a Cast Iron Cooking magazine! Of course she had reason to poke fun. I should’ve bought some beauty, design or gossip mag like normal women do. But this magazine has already produced two very tasty meals, so I don’t mind so much.
They call this a “twist on taco salad” which is a great description and makes this a meal that doesn’t really require a side dish since it’s the main dish and the veggie side.
You don’t need to do too much prep, just some chopping of vegetables. And everything is done in one skillet. You can shred the cheese, or buy pre-shredded. The recipe calls for shredded rotisserie chicken, but if you have leftover cooked chicken that would be perfect, or you could poach chicken breasts if you have the time. A can of tomatoes and green chile is on the ingredients list, but if you want to skip the green chile or can’t find it a partially drained can of diced tomatoes will do just fine.
The dressing is something quite close to Chuy’s creamy jalapeno so be sure to save whatever it left over and use it as a dip for tortilla chips!
The recipe uses a blend of mozzarella and cheddar. Any cheese you’d use for tacos or fajitas would work, monterery jack, colby, cheddar, or the Mexican cheese blend they sell in bags.
The cornbread base has tortilla chips baked in. I had some very thin tortilla chips that weren’t the best in this situation, they lost their crunch. A nice thick corn chip would be better here and hold up nicely. I’ll definitely be sure to do that next time. And there will be a next time because there is so much room for modification here. Adding in black beans or corn, using ground beef instead of chicken, or leftover fajita meat which we often have after cooking up fajitas for friends…we always overbuy!
Chicken Taco Cornbread
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup salsa verde
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 -1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chiles OR 1 can diced tomatoes and a couple tablespoons diced green chiles
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 egg
- 1 7-ounce package of cornbread mix
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
- 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- chopped cilantro
- Combine cilantro, ranch dressing and salsa in a food processor and mix until well blended. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
- Cook onion, bell pepper and jalapeno until softened. Stor in chicken, tomatoes, cilantro and seasonings. Cook for about 5 minutes, taste and season more if needed.
- Transfer filling to a bowl, wipe out skillet and grease with crisco.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a bowl beat egg, milk and cornbread mix just until combined.
- Put chips in the greased skillet, then pour batter over the chips.
- Spoon chicken mixture over the cornbread batter and sprinkle with cheeses.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, let cool briefly before cutting in to slices.
- Top slices of cornbread with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cilantro.
- Drizzle with dressing and serve.