Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

4 Apr

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Although spring is trying to peak out, it’s still chilly here in SoCal where I’m currently based. I don’t mean to wine, I know it’s warmer than my native land. But I thought it would be nice to introduce a Midwestern favorite. A big salad is great for lunch but for dinner a hearty, satisfying, comfort food is in order. The array of vegetables not only pack a nutritional punch but they lend their colors to make this dish really pop. A great make-ahead meal. Prepare it up until the baking, cool completely and freeze, I usually divide into 2. Just defrost in fridge before baking, or up baking time by about 45min. I meant to add mushrooms to this dish but forgot, maybe next time.

Time: 90 minutes           Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each)

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Finally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  • Drop broccoli and cauliflower florets into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and drain in a colander. Run cold water over top until cooled through or drop in an ice water bath.
  • In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock in 3 parts, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened somewhat. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and season to taste. Add all vegetables, chicken, and both kinds of rice. Mix well to incorporate. Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.
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