Chicken Casserole

Recently a friend asked me if there were any recipes I had discovered in the Recipe Box so far that I've made more than once. I thought hard about it- there aren't a lot of recipes I've made more than once (always new things to try, you know?), so it's not really a question of whether I've found any good recipes. After considering, I realised that yes, I now have a chocolate fudge cake I adore, a pound cake I've accidentally made twice (ha!) and a banana caramel cake I can't get enough of.

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And now I also have this chicken recipe, which I've already made three times (and haven't even told you about it until now! I know!). The first time, I made this for myself when Judson was out of town for work and loved it so much I re-made it the day he got back so he could enjoy it too. The third time was this week when, suffering from the jetlag that comes from visiting Southeast Asia and then returning to Europe, and the culture shock that comes from hanging out in 38 degree-Celsius weather drinking out of coconuts for two weeks and then returning to a city in the throes of Christmas preparations, I couldn't think of a better way to warm our freezing-cold flat up.

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I really thought I was in for another 'chicken in chicken sauce' type of event when I started this (which is why I made it when poor Judson was out of town), but it hasn't let me down yet, and I daresay you'll have the same results.* This recipe lends itself to the simple: you can make it with only the three required ingredients and it will be amazing, or you can add in whatever you have to hand, like half an onion, a leek or two, a rib of celery, some chopped bacon lardons or even a handful of roasted chestnuts. I think you could even swap the rice for quinoa for a whole-grain improvement, but I haven't tried it yet.

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*Read the original recipe and you'll see why- it was written on a torn-off piece of receipt paper and it looks like a haiku written by someone who doesn't understand syllables:

cream celery or chicken SOUP
water & extra
brown on 1 sine
on top of rice
pipert 1 hr
salt

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. No matter how you make it, this is a cosy, one-pan dish that will warm up your kitchen and have your entire house smelling like a home in no time. The best part? The leftovers heat up like a dream, so you're off dinner duty tomorrow night, too. It's not a classy recipe, but when you're jetlagged, cold, or just ready for an easy, warming dinner, this will definitely do the trick.

One year ago: Crazy Crust Apple Pie
two years ago: Chocolate Chiffon Cake

 

the recipe:

Chicken Casserole

the directions:

Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
Heat oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
Add chicken thighs, face down, and brown for 5 minutes until golden (more browning will occur in oven).
Flip over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Check one thigh for doneness by poking into thickest part and checking the colour of the juices. If juice is still red, continue browning for an additional 3-5 minutes (chicken should be JUST done when you remove it).
Remove chicken from pan, drain all but 1 tbsp of liquid and spoon rice evenly into the pan.
Pour soup over rice, then any additional ingredients you're adding, finishing by adding chicken to the pan last.
Pop into preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through and well-browned.

the ingredients:

2 tbsp oil
1 package chicken thighs (as many as will fit in your pan)
3 cups rice, cooked
1 can or 2 cups homemade cream of chicken or cream of celery soup
optional: lardons, leeks, onion, chestnuts, celery, garlic cloves, or anything else in your fridge that needs to be used up.