Not only is this satisfying casserole perfect for weeknight meals, the uncomplicated homemade sauce qualifies it as an excellent dish for impressive, cozy entertaining. In addition, you'll find it makes a wonderful take-along dish that's sure to please all.
If you have a heavy schedule (as most of us do), this flavorful casserole is ideal for preparing ahead and freezing.
Mama Loves You!
As inspired by the recipe for Chicken with Herbs En Casserole in The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 1963
Serves approx. 6
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 1/2 c. uncooked, long-grain white rice
- 2 TB vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
- 4 lbs. of chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat*
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (I used button), cleaned,* trimmed and sliced into about 1/4" slices
- 1/4 c. + 2 TB flour
- 1/2 c. salted butter, melted (as needed for the roux)
- 3 c. whole milk (or one 12 oz. can evaporated milk diluted with an equal amount of water)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt (use table salt)
- 2/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (divided)*
- 3/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 3/4 tsp. dried sage leaves (or 1/4 tsp. ground sage)
- Ground paprika and dried parsley flakes (for the top of the casserole)
- Stem of fresh parsley, thyme or sage
A Nice Big Serving For Me...So Hungry!
- Spray a 2 qt. casserole or a 13 1/2" x 9 1/2" x 2" baking dish with the cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the rice according to package directions and fluff with a fork. Spread in the prepped casserole or baking dish and set aside.
- Rinse the chicken thighs* under cool water, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat until the addition of a droplet of cold water sizzles. Add the thighs to the pan without crowding, reduce the heat to medium and cook both sides until golden brown.
- Lay the chicken pieces over the cooked rice in the casserole or baking dish. Reserve, in the skillet, about 1/4 c. of any cooking fat left.
- Over medium-high, heat the 1/4 c. of reserved fat until the addition of a droplet of cold water sizzles. Without crowding, add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. of the freshly ground black pepper* and reduce the heat to medium. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mushroom slices are tender and lightly browned. Remove the cooked mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325º.
- Measure any fat left in the pan and add enough melted butter to total 1/2 c. of fat, then pour back into the skillet. Add the flour and, over medium heat, blend with a whisk* until you have a smooth roux.
- Whisk into the roux the milk, salt, the remaining 1/8 tsp. black pepper,* thyme and sage. Whisk the sauce until smooth and thickened (it will start to bubble). Remove from the heat and stir in the mushrooms.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and rice in the casserole. Sprinkle lightly with the paprika and parsley flakes and bake uncovered about 1 hr., or until fork tender.
- Store leftover casserole in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- You can substitute chicken breasts or a cut-up whole roasting chicken, if you prefer (bone-in will offer more flavor).
- Always follow safety sanitation practices when handling raw meat or poultry.
- Save any excess fat trimmed from the raw chicken for schmaltz (rendered chicken fat).
- Clean the mushrooms gently with a damp paper towel or mushroom brush (do not immerse in water or rinse under water, as they would become soggy).
- A silicone whisk is good for use in a non-stick pan.
Enjoy this succulent chicken casserole with a nice salad or sauteed green vegetable and a crusty bread. Or, just savor as a gratifying one-dish meal!