Chicken Casserole Supreme
4 to 6 servings
- 8 chicken half-breasts, skin removed, bone may be removed, if desired, or 1 to 1½ pounds boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
- 1½ cups uncooked quick-cooking white or brown long-grain rice
- 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped
- 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced, or 1 (6-to 8-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
- ½ cup coarsely chopped peeled onion or green onion (include some green tops)
- 1/4 cup each coarsely chopped green, sweet red, and yellow pepper (see note)
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom or reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup or golden mushroom soup, undiluted
- 1 cup chicken broth or reduced-fat chicken broth (see note)
- 3/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine or water (see note)
- 1 to 1½ tablespoons minced parsley (no stems)
- 1 to 1½ tablespoon(s) finely snipped fresh thyme leaves or 1 to 1½ teaspoon(s) dried thyme leaves (optional)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce or to taste
- Salt or seasoned salt or no-salt herb seasoning and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare chicken for baking; set aside. Spread rice evenly over the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch or 10 x 6 x 2-inch baking dish. Evenly sprinkle celery, mushrooms, onion, and (Bell) peppers over rice. In a small bowl, combine mushroom soup, chicken broth, sherry, parsley, thyme, if desired, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce, blending well. Spoon half of the mixture over rice and vegetables. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt or no-salt herb seasoning and pepper to taste. Arrange chicken pieces over vegetable/sauce mixture in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and repeat sprinkling of salt or seasoned salt and pepper. Bake, loosely covered with aluminum foil, in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 45 to 50 minutes. Check doneness of chicken and rice. Uncover and continue baking about 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken, rice, and vegetables are fork tender.
Note: Casserole freezes well. Only bake 45 to 50 minutes, then cool, and freeze. To reheat, place thawed frozen casserole in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.); bake, loosely covered, for about 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly hot.
Note: May roast peppers, if desired. Arrange sweet peppers on a rack in a broiler pan; broil, about 6 inches from heat source, charring all sides of peppers. Or, char peppers on top of the range over high electric heat or medium to high gas flame, charring all sides. Transfer to a plastic bag, seal, and allow peppers to stand 15 to 20 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and easily remove peel, stem, core, and seeds. With kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut peppers into long thin pieces. Or, use commercially prepared peeled roasted peppers available in most grocery stores.
Note: May use 1 cup boiling water in which 2 chicken bouillon cubes have been dissolved. May also increase chicken broth to 1 3/4 cups, if not using sherry or white wine.
Variations: Omit thyme; use 1 to 1½ tablespoon(s) minced fresh cilantro leaves in place of thyme About 10 minutes before end of baking time, liberally sprinkle top of casserole with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.