A favorite chicken casserole recipe is turned into a from scratch recipe, and my daughter helps me make it! This post was sponsored by McCormick’s American Homemade (see below for details); all opinions are my own.
This post is a whole slew of things. It is an American Homemade inspired re-do of a treasured family recipe, originally made with canned soup and a walloping amount of Miracle Whip, into a from-scratch recipe using a minimal amount of mayo instead. It is a celebration of my daughter learning to cook one of her own favorite recipes, and documenting the process of her cooking alongside me. And last, it is also a call to action from myself and McCormick’s Spices to ask you what recipe or dish defines the idea of American Homemade for you?
I have already documented here just how much the original recipe means to the family I grew up in and myself as an adult. What I may not have made clear however was just how much Alex loves it (for that matter John does too–this is every bit as important to my own little family). She begs me to make it pretty much all of the time. So when I told her we were going to make it together for the blog she was very excited. Mind you, when I told her we would be re-working the recipe a bit to make it more foodie-friendly, she was incensed and told me if it did not taste THE EXACT SAME we would be making it again! How little faith she had… But I passed! So know that this recipe passed a pretty rigorous test!
The most important key to making this recipe from scratch was creating a really flavorful cream of mushroom soup. After that everything is easy peasy. And the good thing is you can make the soup in larger batches and then freeze it (which we did). Now I might not normally recommend freezing cream based soups as they can break easily, but in this case the breaking does not really matter as you will be mixing the soup with rice, mayo, sour cream and some other things (see Alex above). Any broken appearance will got lost in all that. And frankly you do not need to re-heat it anyway, so it may not break at all. Once you have the soup, whipping up this casserole on any old weeknight is simple.
One of the keys to keeping this casserole simple is using rotisserie chicken. If you have the time, you can also roast your own. Either way, the process involves shredding chicken away from the bones with your hands, a process that I expected Alex to be squeamish about. When I first told her what she would be doing, my suspicions were not wrong. She was not happy. But then I opened up the chicken, and pointed out it was the chicken she loved, invited her to smell it.
That was all it took. Alex told me her advice for other kids feeling similarly squeamish was to “smell the delicious chicken.” After that getting it on her fingers just did not bother her any more! We spent more time arguing over whether she could sneak bites of it!
While she worked on the chicken, I worked on the soup. Between the two of us, as you can see above, we made quite the mess! And every bit of it was worth it.
- For the soup:
- .4 oz dried portobello mushrooms—covered by 2 c boiling water
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 celery stalks finely diced
- 2 carrots dinely diced
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil (don't break the bank!)
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- hefty pinch dried thyme (or 1 t fresh minced)
- 1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup reduced fat sour cream
- For the casserole:
- shredded chicken from one rotisserie chicken (or equivalent home-cooked)
- 20 oz (2 bags) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
- ½ lbs sliced crimini mushrooms in addition to what is in soup
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups uncooked basmati, parboiled
- For sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1 T sugar
- 3 cups of the soup, as needed
- 2-4 T curry powder, to taste
- First make the soup: Cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water and set aside.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. When it is melted and shimmering, add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook the onions, stirring, until they are softened and starting to caramelize.
- Add the celery and carrots. Cook another 5 minutes, until they are softened as well. Add the garlic with the thyme. Stir, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Push the onion mixture to the sides. Add half the mushrooms (1/2 pound) into the center of the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes and then mix the mushrooms into the onions. Push to the sides again and add the remaining ½ pound mushrooms with another pinch of salt. Let brown in the center for 5 minutes and then mix in again.
- Add the white wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze any stuck bits and let the wine boil for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
- While you are waiting for the chicken stock to boil, remove the rehydrated mushrooms from the soaking water. Add the soaking water to the soup pot as well. Mince the rehydrated mushrooms and add those too.
- Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and let simmer gently for 15 minutes to merge the flavors.
- Whisk together the heavy cream and ⅔ cup sour cream in a medium sized bowl.
- When the 15 minutes is up, add some of the broth to the sour cream mixture and whisk it in. Repeat until the sour cream mixture is hot. Turn off the heat and then whisk this mixture into the soup. Taste for more salt.
- Now you have soup to work with. Whatever you do not use, freeze for later.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Collect everything for assembling the casserole. Shred the chicken and place in a bowl. Cook the basmati rice in salted boiling water for about 3-4 minutes, until the crunch is gone. Drain the rice and set aside.
- Sauté the mushrooms n a nonstick skillet in the tablespoon of oil. When they are browned, remove them to a bowl.
- Make the sauce in a large bowl: Whisk together the mayonnaise, ½ cup of sour cream, the sugar, 3 cups of the soup and 2 tablespoons of curry powder. Taste for more curry powder (we like a lot more than what I grew up with--it is entirely up to your taste). Reserve one cup of the sauce.
- When the rice is finished parboiling, mix it into the sauce.
- Lightly oil your casserole dishes--for us this recipe made 4 individual casserole dishes plus 1 small casserole, a little smaller than 9 X 13 (it is an oval). You could also make it all in one large, deep casserole pan.
- Place the rice in the bottom of the prepared pans. Divide the chicken evenly among the pans and spread it over the rice. Add the mushrooms similarly. Then finish with the broccoli.
- Using the reserved 1 cup of sauce, divide it evenly among the pans, spreading it over the broccoli.
- If you are starting with hot rice, bake for 20-40 minutes (size of pan depending) until the casserole is steaming.
- If you are starting with a chilled or defrosted casserole, allow yourself much more time, for chilled maybe an hour (pan size depending) and for defrosted even longer still unless you are certain the casserole has completely come down to refrigerator temperature. I have been burned more than once by a previously frozen casserole taking hours to cook!
This post has been sponsored by McCormick’s in partnership with Kitchen PLAY. All opinions are my own.
Bloggers like me were asked to share stories about recipes that are an important part of our family lives. Do you have a favorite family recipe? Share your own American Homemade story in the comments below. And if you’re looking for new recipes to incorporate into your life, be sure to check out McCormick’s new FlavorPrint tool. I tried it out and it figured me out pretty well! Select your preferred flavors, and McCormick will match you up with recipes.