October 11, 2009

Wild Rice Casserole

After watching the weather report last night, I'm reluctantly putting away my box of grilling and BBQ recipes, and pulling out my soups, stews and casserole cookbooks. I will admit, that as much as I love summer and the food that goes along with it, I really favor comfort food. Anything cheesy, warm and gooey that will help me to accept that first snowfall of the year is fine by me. This casserole recipe is full of good things such as veggies and chicken. It's also a wonderful dish to make for a potluck, baby or bridal shower, or housewarming party, as it can be assembled the night before and just baked when ready to eat. I've even served it for brunch. For the ingredients, you can precook your own poultry, but I prefer to grab a pre-made rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. They're pretty cheap (mine was $5.00), and the meat literally falls off the bone. So save yourself some time and purchase a store-made chicken. And maybe some logs for the fire, or a good paperback.

I try to believe that we are blessed with the long winter season because it forces us to slow down, recharge and reflect. And what better way to deal with it all? Comfort food. And a little wine. Okay, if it's snowing hard, a lot.

Wild Rice Casserole
makes one 13x9 pan

1 (6.2 oz) package Long-Grain and Wild Rice mix
1/2 cup butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 pound of mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 small jar roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained/rinsed
1/4 cup chopped celery
4-5 basil leaves, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
  (or you can use store bought rotisserie chicken)
1 can (1 and 1/2 cups) vegetable broth
1 and 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Lightly spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the wild rice mix according to package directions, cook completely and set aside.

In a deep pan, melt butter and add the onions. Saute just until softened, then sprinkle with Wondra flour, stirring constantly for about a minute. Add the vegetable broth, half and half, basil and salt/pepper. Stir over medium heat until liquid has started to thicken.

Fold in the mushrooms. chicken and all other veggies. Mix gently and heat for 5 minutes.
 Gently mix in the wild rice, stirring to combine.
Spoon into prepared casserole dish; sprinkling sliced almonds and parsley over the top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. (Optional: serve hot with mini croissants)


Libby said...

Yummm! This looks wonderful :)

figtree said...

This would be a BIG hit in my house. I look forward to trying it. Figtreeapps