Casseroles – they are almost a dirty word in today’s cook’s repertoire. Conjuring images of grey, creamy, overly heavy dishes from the ’70s when everything was packaged and a “casserole” was a pantry dish in the worst way. Welcome to the 21st century where casseroles are one pot, comfort food meals.
This particular dish was inspired by my need to create a healthy meal for the steam table in the Just Food Deli. When I asked my Minnesota friends what kind of casseroles they still loved to eat, everyone told me Chicken and Wild Rice. There’s a reason it was an unanimous choice; the nutty, earthy flavor of wild rice compliments chicken and the traditional mire poix makes a perfect dish.
You don’t have to use chicken stock; vegetable stock or even water works just as well. I had some chicken thighs on hand and simply boiled them up, picked off the meat and used the cooking water for the stock.
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 1/4 cups wild rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat chicken stock until almost boiling. At the same time, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add celery and carrot and cook another 3-4 minutes until tender. Add chicken and rice to stock and bring back to boil. Combine with cooked vegetables and pour into covered baking dish and bake for 65 minutes until rice is cooked. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipes currently inspiring me: