Chicken Casseroles

April 20th, 2010

I want to love chicken casseroles, but there are few that do anything for me. I love chicken and dumplings, a Mexican king ranch casserole, and chicken pot pie, but that is about it. Most casseroles start with a can of cream of “something” soup and I am not being a snob by avoiding these recipes. For health reasons we are trying to avoid processed foods. That eliminates a whole slew of recipes. One of the chicken casseroles I used to like was chicken divan. The last time I made it with cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise I could hardly eat it in spite of the presence of the broccoli and chicken. Mayonnaise does not belong in a casserole! I’m sure some of you will disagree. I have adapted some recipes that call for cream of chicken soup by thickening chicken broth with butter and flour so it is doable, but I am still underwhelmed. I tried this recipe yesterday because it sounded promising. It is Chicken and Green Onion Cobbler.

It sounded promising. It included saffron, ham and lots of green onions with a cornmeal and cheese crust. The chicken stock was thickened with flour and butter and there were lots of vegetables in it. I halved the recipe for the two of us. I had high expectations. I was disappointed. Saffron is expensive and it did nothing for this casserole. It called for such a small amount that it disappeared, neither flavoring nor lending a yellow hue to the finished product. I will save my saffron for paella which I do love. The raw green onions were overpowering and the cobbler crust was bland. I expected that the ham would be a nice touch but it seemed out of place for some reason. I am including the recipe here if you would like to try it. I could be wrong. It could be tweaked. If you have a chicken casserole that you love, please email me with the recipe and I promise that I will try it. I want to love chicken casseroles.
7 cups chicken stock
3 to 3 1/2 lobs chicken breast halves, with skin and bones
1/8 tsp crushed saffron threads
2/3 cup diced carrots
2/3 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup frozen petit peas, thawed
1/4 lb. smoked ham, chopped
2/3 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
For filling: Combine stock, chicken and saffron in heavy large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to large bowl, and cool briefly; reserve broth. Remove skin and bones from chicken. Cut chicken into 3/4 inch cubes; place in 15x10x2 inch (4 quart) glass baking dish.
Bring broth to boil. Add carrot and celery; cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to dish with chicken. Add green onions, peas, ham, onion and parsley to chicken.
Spoon fat off top of broth. Measure broth, adding more if necessary, for 6 1/2 cups. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth. Boil until thick and smooth, whisking constantly, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add to chicken. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. (Bring to room temperature before continuing.)
For topping; Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk milk, egg and butter to blend in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls over filling. Bake cobbler until topping is firm and golden, about 35 minutes.
Serves 10

9 responses to “Chicken Casseroles”

  1. Well it looks good….I am not a casserole fan at all, so I wouldn’t be of any help. I do love chicken and dumplings and chicken pot pie too!

  2. I like dishes full of promise:D

  3. Lyla says:

    The Kalamazoo “I Have a Cook in Kalamazoo” cookbook that I gave you has a really good chicken/artichoke casserole–no mayo. Thanks for this one, though. Who knows, I may give it a try. Mayonnaise doesn’t belong in chocolate cake, either, no matter how many swear by it!

  4. It does look good.

    I try my best to avoid processed foods myself. The “Can of something” casseroles remind me of my mother’s magazine recipes when i was growing up… not a positive experience.

  5. Bella says:

    Well, it does look good. 🙂 I love chicken but am not much on chicken casseroles, I have to admit. Though I do love chicken and dumplings – my grandmother has a chicken pot pie recipe that is to die for, which reminds me that I need to get that from my mom.

  6. Kate says:

    This must be a case where looks are deceiving! The ingredients sound great, also. I do enjoy a nice chicken casserole.

  7. Lynda says:

    Too bad this dish wasn’t what you hoped it would be. Sometimes it’s just hard to tell until you make it, and it certainly looks delicious.
    I used to make chicken casseroles, but like you, I’m trying to eat healthier with little processed stuff.I still enjoy my Chicken Tetrazzinni, which doesn’t contain canned soup.

  8. Robin Sue says:

    Oh all that work and to have it not be that good, shame. I do that alot and I have given up on chicken casseroles. I have a few good ones but they are from the days of when we didn’t know better about processed foods. Chicken parm is as close as I get now but I don’t think that counts!

  9. Karen says:

    Your casserole looks very good – a shame it didn’t turn out like you wanted. I don’t think I’ve ever made a chicken casserole, unless you count chicken pot pie 🙂

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