Savory chicken and wild rice casserole is a terrific meal option for the family or a small gathering of friends. It's also a great way to use up some of those garden veggies you may have too much of.
When I was younger, the word 'casserole' was the last thing I wanted to see on the menu. The term 'casserole' was so off-putting to me and I don't know why. Maybe it was because it seemed more like the ghosts from your last meal returning to haunt you in another form than it was an intentional dish on its own.
Let's make it
"Probably needs more almonds. I like almonds."
This is another of those recipes where you are safe if you want to 'change it up'. It's very forgiving if you want to use different vegetables than what I have listed. I just used what I had on hand, which was basically carrots. If only I had waited, I could have added some of the awesome summer squash I now have. And so, it goes.
This recipe takes a little longer than most of the dishes I tend to make. The total time of prep and cooking took a little over an hour and a half. Going strictly by the recipe, it will serve about four. However, I went over the meat and used six chicken breasts instead of four and adjusted my measurements accordingly. By doing so, I got six servings out of this recipe. You could also use chicken thighs instead of breasts and get more servings that way as well.
1 1/4 lb of skinned boneless chicken breasts
1 cup of milk
2 1/2 cups of chicken stock or broth
1/3 cup of flour
6 ounces of wild rice (uncooked)
4 tbsp of butter
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 /2 cup of diced ham
3 tbsp olive oil
sliced almonds - garnish to your preference
2 large carrots - chopped
2 tbsp white wine
1 cup chopped onion
1 quart of water
8 ounces mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
Roll up your sleeves and wash your hands. Scrub, peel and chop the carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Into one container suitable for pouring; measure out and combine the chicken stock (or broth), dry mustard, and milk and blend. Set that aside for now. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a casserole dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil and set aside.
First, we'll cook the rice. Bring 1 quart of water, 1 tbsp of butter, and 1/2 tsp of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add the rice and stir. Bring it to a boil again and then reduce the heat to medium. Cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes then drain the rice and spread it into the casserole dish.
Cook the ham in 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir until the ham starts to turn brown. Add the onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Use the onions as a gauge and cook until they are tender. Stir in the garlic and add the wine and reduce. Remove from heat.
Grab another saucepan and melt 3 tbsp of butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously until smooth. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock, dry mustard, and milk. Increase the heat to medium and keep whisking until it is bubbly and thickened about 3-4 minutes. Pour this mixture over the ham and vegetables and add 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper. Allow this to rest on low heat while you prepare the chicken.
Season the chicken with the remaining salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp olive oil back to the skillet and brown the chicken on both sides. After patting dry the chicken, transfer the chicken to the casserole dish over the rice.
Pour the ham and vegetable mixture evenly over the chicken. Top with the sliced almonds and place the casserole dish into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Ready to serve!
Hindsight is 20-20
This is a great recipe but I feel like it could have been a whole lot better. That being said, I feel like the fault was all mine and not the recipe. Mine turned out a little on the 'bland' side for my taste. So, this will be one that I try again a little differently. I plan on using better white wine and fresh mushrooms instead of the canned variety. Also, I will try a different wild rice brand. This one was ok but didn't have any seasoning to it, the flavor just wasn't there. Lastly, I went a little overboard with the almonds.
Take those things into consideration if this is a recipe you wish to try and it will turn out quite right. I hope you have a blessed day and thank you for reading!