I loved it when my Mom made this Southwest Chicken and Rice recipe when I was a kid. We called it Pueblo Chicken. It’s chicken and rice mixed in a creamy tomato sauce of salsa and sour cream with black olives and lots of melty jack cheese. It’s super easy to make and also gluten free!
No Soup for You
I admit to being a big fan of casseroles. Something about them reminds me of childhood and symbolizes comfort food.
But, many casseroles call for canned soups, notoriously filled with additives and preservatives. I’ve re-worked some of my favorite casseroles, like Spinach Fandango, so they can be made without canned soups. This recipe, luckily, is in its original form, no modifications needed since it doesn’t call for any canned soup.
Shortcut for the Chicken
This recipe calls for 3 cups of cooked, diced or shredded chicken. Obviously, you can go to the store and buy chicken breasts, cook them and then dice them. But, I like to get a rotisserie chicken, shred it and use that for this recipe. It’s one less step when the chicken is already cooked.
Grate Your Own Cheese
The magic of the melt when it comes to cheese is in shredding your own. The pre-shredded stuff, though convenient, is treated with potato starch to prevent clumping in the packaging while waiting on store shelves. So if you want maximum melt-ability, get a regular block of jack cheese and shred it yourself. I use my box grater.
Pay Attention to the Type of Rice
I have seen other versions of this recipe that call for Instant Rice. I do not use Instant Rice here. I like to use a regular long grain rice because it has better texture and flavor.
The instructions and cook time I list in the recipe below are based on using long grain white rice.Print
A creamy, cheesy, southwest chicken and rice casserole made with salsa and sour cream, topped with black olives and melty jack cheese. A super easy family favorite main dish recipe.
- 2 Tbs oil
- 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1.5 cups long grain white rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup jarred mild salsa (unless your family likes spicy!)
- 4.25 oz can sliced black olives
- 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups sour cream
- 7 oz can diced green chilies
- 3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
- 16oz shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Heat a medium sauce pot or dutch oven that has a lid over medium high heat and add in 2 Tbs oil
- Once it’s heated, add in the 1/2 cup diced onion and 1.5 cups long grain white rice and stir frequently for five minutes until the onion is soft and fragrant and the rice is slightly toasted
- Next, add in 2 cups of chicken broth and 3/4 cup of jarred mild salsa and stir until it’s all combined.
- Then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with the lid and let it continue to cook over a low simmer until the rice has absorbed all the liquids (approximately 20 minutes).
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the lid and stir the rice to break it up.
- Then, in a large bowl (or in the pot, if the pot is large enough) combine the rice with 4.25 oz can of sliced black olives, 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, 1.5 cups sour cream, 7oz of diced green chiles, 3 cups of cooked diced or shredded chicken and half of the shredded jack cheese.
- Mix that all together and put it into a large 13 x 9 inch casserole dish.
- Smooth the mixture out in the casserole dish then cover it with aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 minutes at 350F.
- After 30 minutes and the casserole is heated through, remove the foil, add the remaining 8oz of shredded jack cheese to the top of the casserole and bake uncovered for an additional 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese on top is melted, bubbling and slightly browned.
- Remove the cooked casserole from the oven and allow it to rest out of the oven for at least 10 minute to allow the casserole to set.
- Slice the casserole into square servings and serve topped with sour cream, guacamole, avocados, cilantro, or anything you like with southwest flair!
Keywords: casserole, southwest, chicken, rice, pueblo chicken, black olives