Chicken And Wild Rice Casserole

 Chicken And Wild Rice Casserole

Warm up with Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. A hearty and satisfying dish that's perfect for cooler days. I love wild rice, so I'm always searching for new recipes. This was a recipe from Minnesota. Wild rice is associated with that region of the U.S. because the climate and conditions in most of the upper NE region of the state are so ideal for growing this crop. Wild rice is actually a grass (not a grain), so it's not related to any of the common varieties of grain rice. When I make this recipe, I cook wild rice in the morning, drain it, cool it in the fridge until I prepare this dish. I use whatever leftover chicken I have on hand, shred it with a fork so it's thin and heats thru quickly.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Cook time: 50 Min  Prep time: 20 Min  Serves: 6 to 8
1/2 cup unsalted butter (divided, 1/3 cup + 2 to 3 tbsp)
1 sm onion, chopped (about 1 cup or so)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 1/4 cup carrot, finely diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt (or more, if needed)
1 tsp black pepper
1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth (low sodium, if possible)
1 cup half & half or light cream
4 cups cooked chicken, finely shredded with a fork
4 cups cooked wild rice
1 (8-oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 sm orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (if you don't have breadcrumbs, you can use garlic croutons, crushed and tossed in 2-3 tbsp melted butter....yum)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9x13 baking dish (a 2.5-qt round baking dish will work as well); set dish aside.
2. Melt 1/3 cup of the butter in a large skillet. Add onion, celery and carrot, and sauté the vegetables until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually stir in the broth, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in the cream, chicken, rice, mushrooms, bell pepper, and parsley. Cook 3 to 4 minutes (just enough to get heated). Transfer to coated baking dish.
3. Mix breadcrumbs with remaining (2 to 3 Tbsp) butter. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole.
4. Bake, uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

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