The other day, I ran into this recipe on the Simply Recipes site for a chicken rice casserole using only fresh ingredients. I was a little hesitant about the recipe at first as I was afraid it would be bland and it semed to require some unneccessary steps. However, I had no reason to worry -- the casserole was great! It had that nostalgic casserole taste without the sodium overload that results from using condensed soup. I halved the recipe and used basmati rice, light cream, and fat free sour cream, all of which worked just fine. I added my tweaks and also consolidated some of the steps to Elise's recipe below.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces, patted dry
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp dry vermouth
2/3 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 Tbsp light cream
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup raw long grain white rice
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan on high or medium high heat (hot enough to brown but not burn). Sprinkle a little salt on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and half the poultry seasoning all over the chicken pieces. Brown the chicken pieces on 2 sides, about 1-2 minutes. Remove chicken pieces and set aside in a bowl. Note that the chicken does not have to be cooked through, only browned.
3. Lower the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
4. Raise heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the paprika. Fry until the mushrooms give off their liquid and start to brown.
5. Deglaze the pan with the dry vermouth and let it reduce to about half a tablespoon. Add the rice and fry with the mushroom onion mixture for about 30 seconds. Add back the chicken and the juices that have collected in the bowl. Add the remaining poultry season and mix all the ingredients together.
6. Add the chicken stock and remove from heat. Add the light cream, sour cream and 3/4 tsp kosher salt. Mix to evenly distribute the ingredients.
7. Spoon everything into an 8X8 baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
8. Remove foil. If the casserole is too liquidy, let it cook several minutes more uncovered, until the excess liquid has evaporated away (I did not have this issue). Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.
Makes 4 servings.