In a Sentence:
Embarrassingly easy flavor, using a few cheats and whatever you've got at hand.
- ~ 2 lbs cooked chicken meat. I just grabbed a couple of packages of chicken breasts and baked them as a first step and then chunked them up. If you do this don't forget to season them.
- Frozen vegetables. I happened to use peas, corn, and pearl onions, but use whatever makes you happy. If you use pearl onions or grated carrot, I'd pre-cook them in a little butter. Aim for 10-15 oz total veggies.
- One can condensed cream of chicken soup. This is the only time in my life I will ever say this.
- Seasonings. I used thyme and oregano. Pick your favorites.
- Optional: shredded cheese, heavy cream.
- Crust. I used a package of Grands Homestyle biscuits. If you have the energy, make your own. Or use puff pastry. Or a pie crust. Whatever.
Equipment: One large skillet, one 9 x 13 casserole dish.
I don't really do casseroles. I may have been raised in the Midwest, but growing up in a Greek family, they just weren't in the repertoire. But I live in Wisconsin now, married to a good old Minnesota boy, and we're busy. We're taking a class on Sixties Film, two nights a week, and that means two nights that we want to be able to eat at our own pace before we have to troop onto campus and sit through a movie. So I've been trying bigger dishes that we can reheat with ease. Enter casseroles.
I adapted this recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe, but frankly, I made it better.
Oven to 400. So, if you're going to precook anything, do so now. While my pearl onions were softening and bubbling in their butter, I was shredding chicken and tossing it into our big saute pan with the rest of the veggies. Tossed those onions in, and cracked that can of condensed soup and a canful of water in there too. Toss in your seasonings - no, I didn't measure. Toss some in. You're going to be tasting in a minute.
Stir that mess up and bring it to bubbling over medium high heat. At this point, taste. Don't be afraid of salt! Add some pepper. Add more of your seasonings. Does it taste good? Great. Should smell good too.
At this point, turn it all down to a low simmer. If you want to add some shredded cheese, do it. We had some sharp cheddar in the fridge that was getting close to its death date, so I tossed it in. We also had some heavy cream to use up (hardships!), so I tossed a good splash in. Ain't nothing that can't be made better with heavy cream.
Move all that creamy deliciousness into your 9x13 pan. Add your crust. Tonight I floured my counter and rolled out the biscuits until they formed a kind of pseudo top crust. I never worry too much about how it's going to look. If you want to milk wash the crust, or add some shredded cheese or herbs, go ahead. I didn't bother.
Bakety bakety for about 20 minutes, or until your top crust is all brown and drool-inducing. Take it out but IMPORTANT - let that sucker sit on the counter for ten minutes. Let all those boiling, bubbling liquids thicken a bit and soak into the other ingredients.
Eat your face full.
Don't be afraid to try random combinations of stuff. Following a recipe is fine, but when you can create something that's yours, that's real cooking. Let me know if you try this, and what you thought. - J