This recipe is out of an issue of Southern Living; date unknown. It was submitted by Leslie Flemister from Dunwoody, Georgia.
C. selected this clipping for our dinner this evening. Since it’s just the two of us, I halved the recipe and it halved very well. Leslie notes that the recipe freezes well; up to 1 month. Although I halved the recipe, I have given you the recipe below for the whole recipe that yields 6 to 8 servings.
Here are the cast of characters for today’s clipping. Milk, sour cream, water chestnuts, onion, cheddar cheese, cooked chicken, celery, wild rice mix, & mushroom soup.
Begin by melting some butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and water chestnuts.
Stir in the rice (as well as the seasoning packet), the chicken & part of the cheese.
I’d like to add a note about the chicken here. The recipe calls for 5 cups of chopped cooked chicken. You can do this a couple of ways. If you are in need of some good broth to freeze you can boil your own chicken (don’t forget to add all of those flavorful additions like celery, carrots, onion and a little garlic). Or, you can do what I chose to do today and that was to buy a plain roasted chicken from the neighborhood store’s deli department.
I boned the chicken and shredded the meat. It easily yielded the 5 cups that the recipe calls for. I can’t emphasize enough here how fabulous it is to wear food gloves to bone the chicken. Once you are through and toss the gloves your hands are so nice and clean. There is nothing nastier than greasy, poultry fat hands.
Add the soup mixture and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish. You can top it with the breadcrumbs if you like; I elected to leave them off.
Bake for 30 minutes then top with the rest of the cheese and bake for 5 more minutes.
It proved to be a tasty dinner. It produced a creamy texture with a pleasant crunchiness from the water chestnuts. This casserole pairs nicely with a crisp dinner salad and a chilled Pinot Grigio. That’s all you need for this easy dinner. We enjoyed it very much. Thank you Leslie!
Leslie’s Favorite Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole
Yields 6 to 8 servings; Prep: 30 minutes; Bake: 35 minutes
2 (6.2 ounce) packages fast-cooking long-grain & wild rice mix
¼ C. butter or margarine
2 medium onions, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
4 cups (1 pound) shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 (10-3/4 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 (8 ounce) containers sour cream
1 cup milk
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup soft breadcrumbs (optional)
Mise en place:
· chop onions and celery
· drain water chestnuts
· shred or chop chicken
· shred cheese and divide
· whisk together the soup, sour cream, milk, salt & pepper
· Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion, celery, and water chestnuts. Sauté 10 minutes or until tender.
· Stir in rice, season packet, chicken, & 3 cups of the cheese. Gently mix. Add soup mixture and gently mix.
· Pour into a lightly greased 15 x 10 inch baking dish or a 4-quart casserole. Top with breadcrumbs, if desired.
· Bake casserole at 350° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.
NOTE: Casserole may be frozen up to 1 month. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Bake, covered at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 55 more minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.