The missionaries are coming over for supper tonight and I wanted to cook something that was not only delicious and easy, but quick and comforting. I had in mind to buy a chicken and then make a chicken pot pie with it . . .
But then I got to the store, they had cooked Rotisserie Chickens on special at 2 for £7, and so I bought two already cooked chickens. I know . . . me<---Bad.
Nevermind . . . you can never have too much cooked chicken in the house. It comes in handy for all sorts . . . things like sandwiches, casseroles, wraps, enchiladas, etc. After much thought, I decided to make them this delicious Crispy Chicken Casserole. It's a recipe that is a conglomeration . . . a put-together of all the best bits of different chicken casseroles I have tried through the years.
For instance, I loved the use of a wild rice mix in one casserole I tried once upon a time. I love the flavours of summer savoury and the sweetness of dried cranberries . . . almost a stuffing type of taste combination.
I like the crunchiness of celery and flaked almonds which I experienced in another one . . . but I have never been overly fond of tinned soups, as handy to use as they may be from time to time. And so I made a chicken flavoured bechamel sauce to use instead.
Topped with some buttery crushed rice crispies and more flaked almonds, I think you'll find this casserole to be quite delightful. Ok . . . with all the butter in it, you might not want to eat it often . . . but when you want something that's just that little bit special and over the top, this fits the bill quite nicely.
*Crispy Chicken Casserole*
Serves 4 to 6
This is my favourite Chicken casserole. It's a combination of all of the best bits of different chicken casseroles I have liked through the years, and it doesn't use tinned soup.
3 stalks of celery, washed trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 TBS butter
2 cups of cubed cooked chicken (about 4 single breasts cooked)
1 pouch cooked basamati and wild rice mix (2 serving sized pouch)
4 spring onions, chopped
a further 2 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
1 chicken stock sachet
500ml of milk (2 cups)
1 tsp dried summer savoury crumpled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 heaped dessertspoons of low fat mayonnaise (about 3/4 cup)
two small handfuls of dried cranberries (about half a cup)
2 small handfuls of flaked almonds (about half a cup)
For the topping:
1 TBS butter, melted
a mug of rice crispies, crushed coarsely
a generous handful of flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Have ready a 2 litre gratin dish, lightly buttered. Place the first amount of butter and the celery into a microwaveable bowl. Cover and cook on high for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Melt the second amount of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Stir in the summer savoury, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix all together well. Gently mix together the celery mixture, chicken, chopped spring onions, cranberries, flaked almonds and rice in a bowl. Add the milk mixture and stir gently to coat. Scrape into the prepared baking dish.
Mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over top of the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.