I'm pretty sure most people have eaten or even made this type of casserole before. I used to make them quite a bit, and every time I did, the one staple ingredient used to make this dish was a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. Having all the chicken leftover from making stock (this is the 3rd use if you are keeping track), I thought a casserole might be a nice change of pace. Seeing that I make everything from scratch, I just needed to create a recipe that would give that same creamy texture you get from canned cream soup. I can happily report that this is so much better than anything I ever did in the past, and is just as easy. It does require a couple of stages, but the good news is, I used the same saucepan for everything. So in the end, I had 1 saucepan, 1 bowl, and 1 baking dish used to create this recipe. Here's how I did it:
Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Casserole:
1/2 cup organic long grain white rice
1 cup water
2 cups chopped organic broccoli
2 cups cooked organic white meat chicken, cut into medium cubes
1 tbsp organic unsalted butter
1 tbsp organic olive oil
2 organic green onions, chopped
4 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 tsp organic steak seasoning
1 tbsp organic flour
1/2 cup organic low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1 tsp each salt & pepper, plus more if desired
4 ounces organic cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
drizzle of olive oil
Directions: Add the rice and the water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover, and cook for 20 minutes. When the rice is cooked, add it to a large mixing bowl. Rinse out the saucepan, and fill it about halfway with water. Bring to a boil and add the broccoli. Cook for about 45 seconds, remove, and add to the bowl with the rice. Add the chicken to the mixing bowl, and empty the saucepan and place it back on the stove on medium heat.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add the butter and olive oil to the saucepan and heat until the butter is melted. Add the green onions, garlic, and steak seasoning. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and stir well to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the flour is lightly browned and the raw flour taste is removed. Add the chicken stock and stir until thickened. Add the cream and stir again. Add the cream mixture to the bowl with the rice, broccoli, and chicken. Add the salt, pepper, and cheese and stir well until everything is mixed. Taste the mixture and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Place the mixture in an 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with the panko and drizzle with some olive oil if desired. Bake at 425 for approx. 25 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
Note: You might be thinking, wow, steak seasoning, that is really weird. I smelled a couple of different spices when I thought about the creamy sauce I wanted to mix in, that was intended to take the place of a cream of chicken soup. One of the things I smelled was dried thyme. Usually thyme and chicken go very well together, but it just wasn't working for me. I grabbed the steak seasoning on a whim, looked at the back of the bottle, and thought, this might just work. It had some thyme in it, among other things, and it smelled delicious. This creamy sauce was one of the best things I have ever made. The garlic and seasoning with the richness of the cream, just perfect. Enjoy!!