Chicken broccoli casserole

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

We are loving Tricia Yearwood’s new  cookbook.  Titled “Georgia cooking in an Oklahoma kitchen: Recipes from my family to yours,” it is an excellent compilation of down-home Southern cooking.  While I am suspicious of her “No-baste, no-bother roasted turkey” recipe, I also think it sounds intriguing.  Whoever heard of cooking a turkey for 6-hours?  I think 6 hours will make a very dry bird….but still, I think I’m willing to give it a try.  Why not?

We checked her cookbook out from the library, and this is one of the books that we are going to buy.  We love the recipes, and we love the little notes from Tricia Yearwood and her family.  Especially touching are the special notes about each recipe’s history.

Of course, we rarely, ever make a recipe exactly as written, so the following casserole is our rendition of one of Ms. Yearwood’s.  The major difference between our version and hers is that we omitted the salt, added Italian seasoning, and substituted an entire chicken for the 4 chicken breasts.  We also used brown rice instead of rice because we prefer it.  Oh yes, we added garlic and more cheese…because everything needs more garlic and cheese.  I have to admit that I am not a fan of condensend chicken soup, and I am trying to wean us off it…but it’s hard.  It’s so delicious and easy.  Would someone please invent something healthy that we can use instead of the canned stuff?  Ideally, something that I can make ahead of time, and just pull from the freezer when I need it?  Thanks.

Chicken broccoli casserole

1 whole chicken (yes, we use organic chicken, but the regular kind works too)

2 bay leaves

salt, pepper, dried oregano, water

1 1/2 cups brown rice

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups chopped frozen broccoli (use frozen, unless you have some fresh on hand)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 10-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup

3 cups Colby Jack cheese, grated

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place the chicken in a large dutch oven and cover with water.  Add 2 bay leaves, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30-40 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  You can save the broth in 1-cup portions in the freezer, and use it for making soup, rice, or other recipes.

Put the rice in a rice cooker, or pan with the chicken broth and cook according to directions (we use a rice cooker, because we’re lazy).

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Grease a 9 X 13 X 2-inch baking dish (or in our case, three 8 X 6 X 2-inch baking dishes, because we are just two people, and we like to make stuff ahead of time).

Separate chicken from the bones and skin.  Tear the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces.

Add sour cream, mayonnaise, soup, 1 1/2-cups of the cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, and pepper.

Fold.

Divide cooked rice between the bottoms of each greased dish.  Cover with the broccoli.

Spread cooked chicken mixture over this.  Top with remaining Colby Jack cheese.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 8-10 in one large casserole dish.  Or if you’re just a small family (like us), it serves 3 people, in three separate meals.  It freezes beautifully.

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