19 January 2011

And there was much tastiness

My cooking tends to be a potpourri of classic comfort food, exotic experiments, and whatever we have in the freezer. Sometimes it gets boring. Sometimes it's a little TOO exotic. But most of the time, I can strike a pleasing balance, and we fight* over the leftovers.

So there's chicken and rice casserole. Talk about classic comfort food. But most recipes call for cream-of-something soup; I'm not a fan. I did want to get a good recipe in my repertoire, though, and hallelujah! I found it.

Chicken Divan
(original from Passionate Homemaking)

White Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried herbs (rosemary and thyme are good)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or more. I use a bit more.)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups cooked brown rice
2-3 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 small or 1 large head broccoli
1/2 cup grated sharp cheese
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (make your own out of stale bread!)

1. Cut broccoli into large florets, steam just until crisp-tender, and chop.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in small saucepan; add onion and saute over medium-low heat until soft. Add flour and whisk briskly to make a roux. Slowly add milk and broth (a few tablespoons at first, whisking well to avoid lumps, and then another quarter cup with more whisking, and then half a cup, so on until you've put in all the liquid). Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking occasionally, until thick and bubbly. Stir in herbs, cayenne, and salt. Tada: white sauce.
3. Take the sauce off the burner so it can cool a little bit. Once it isn't steaming hot anymore, combine white sauce with mayonnaise and lemon juice.
4. In sprayed/greased 9x13 pan layer rice, chicken, and broccoli. (I think tidy layers are nicer then jumbling it all together.) Pour sauce mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle with cheese and top everything with the breadcrumbs.
5. At this point you can either refrigerate the casserole, freeze it, or bake it immediately. Once you do bake it, put it in for 25-45 minutes at 350. The wide time range depends on its being chilled or not; I refrigerated mine for six hours before baking, and since the casserole was cold it took about 40 minutes to get bubbly and crispy. (I baked it with foil for 25 minutes and then uncovered it for the rest of the time.)


*By "fight" I mean one of us asks "Are you going to eat this?" in a wistful tone and the other says "Well, yeah . . . but you can have it" and the first one either says "Sweet, thanks!" (if it's me) or "Oh no, you can have some too" (if it's Jared). My husband is so much nicer than I am.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, a lurker no longer! :-)

    Thanks for posting this. I've been trying to no avail to find a chicken and rice recipe we all like. Gonna' try this one.

    Oh, and for your cream of ... dilemma, maybe give this a whirl: http://cornrowsandmeadows.blogspot.com/2010/10/homemade-condensed-cream-soup.html