Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

Since we're taking a trip down culinary memory lane, I thought the next post should pay homage to my Minnesota roots.  Wild rice is a proud Minnesota ingredient and I love the nutty taste and chewy texture.  If we're sticking with the Minnesota theme, the next logical jump would mean to assume the recipe would be a casserole (or a "hot dish," you may hear it called) and no "hot dish" would be complete without at least two canned of condensed cream of .... (fill in the blank) soup!  All kidding aside, this is definitely a comforting dish that is perfect for the changing weather (and Minnesotans know comfort food--what else is there to do during the looonnnggg winters???).  
Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
1/2 - 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
Montreal steak seasoning or salt and pepper
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
optional goodies, see notes

Bake chicken seasoned with steak seasoning or salt and pepper at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.  Remove from oven and shred chicken into bite sized pieces.  While chicken is cooking, in a medium pot combine rices, butter and bouillon.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender (about 40 minutes).  Or use a rice cooker and set it and forget it! : )
Once rice is cooked through, remove from heat and fluff with fork and allow to stand uncovered to cool a bit.  In a large bowl, thoroughly combine soups, mayonnaise and sour cream.  Add rice and chicken and any optional goodies.  Stir in cheese.  Pour rice mixture into a greased 9x13 pan (or split into two 8x8's for two smaller meals--one for later or to share with a friend!).  Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until rice is heated through and bubbling.  Top with a sprinkle of more Parmesan cheese for garnish.

Notes: You can substitute two boxed wild rice blend mixes (Rice a Roni or another brand) for the rice and bouillon.  Just prepare according to package directions.  For the picture, I used 1 cup of an unseasoned mix from Trader Joe's (includes parboiled brown rice, black barley and radish seeds) and 1/2 cup of wild rice.

Also, there are lots of really delicious stir in possibilities for this recipe (i.e. "goodies").  Some suggestions, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, diced pimento, canned green beans (rinsed and drained), sliced almonds are just a few...feel free to add and experiment! 

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