Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Minnesota-Inspired Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Many of you may not know that I essentially grew up in Minnesota, from age 8 until age 15. A California native, I quickly learned that wild rice, lutefisk, "hot dishes," and "bars" were dinner staples. This really yummy EatingWell recipe combines wild rice, chicken, and green beans with a homemade (not condensed soup-based) mushroom sauce that is tasty and great for a crowd. I try to avoid condensed soups, as they contain a lot of added, artificial ingredients, so I was thrilled when I found this recipe. The prep takes some time, but you can do it in advance (as I did) and either refrigerate or freeze it until you're ready for baking.

I was blessed with a new "fancy" camera for Christmas, so hopefully you'll enjoy the evolution of the foodtography this year.

Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole

8 Servings


2 cups water (I used 4 cups based on the recommendations in the comments)
1/2 cup wild rice (I used 1 cup based on the recommendations in the comments)
2 lb organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 leeks, chopped and rinsed
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup all purpose flour (I used whole spelt flour)
2 cups low-fat organic milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (I used organic real sour cream)
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. dirty sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
1/2 cup sliced almonds


Assemble ingredients:

Combine water and rice in a small heavy saucepan; bring to boil.

Cover, reduce heat to maintain simmer, and cook until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, place chicken in a large skillet or saucepan.

Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let cool.

Heat oil in Dutch oven or large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until their liquid has been released and has evaporated, 12 to 14 minutes.

Add sherry, increase heat to high and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir to coat.

Add milk; bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Stir in Parmesan, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 by 13 inch (or similar 3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Spread the rice in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.

Top with the chicken, then green beans.

Pour the sauce over the top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with almonds.

Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the almonds are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. This goes very well with a nice green salad.

It was delicious, and even better left over!


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