This week marks another comfort food remade. This time it’s the classic combination of chicken, rice and broccoli is topped with cheese and baked – the ultimate cold-weather weekday meal. And lots leftover for lunches!
Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (makes 6 hearty portions)
You can make the sauce a day in advance, store in the fridge and reheat to speed this up. Because all of the casserole components are warm when it goes into the oven, it cooks pretty quick. For this recipe, some of the cauliflower in the sauce is swapped for broccoli, and garlic and dried herbs were added.
white bean sauce
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp each dried thyme, rosemary and tarragon
- 1 BPA-free can (398 ml) white cannelini or kidney beans
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tbsp shredded cheese
- 1 cup brown rice or brown-wild rice medley
- 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 10 mushrooms, quartered
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chicken broth, or white wine or dark beer (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 3 cups broccoli, cut into florets
- ½ cup shredded cheese
- Cook rice as per package directions, being careful not to overcook (no one likes mush!).
- While rice cooks prepare the sauce. Heat oil/butter in a heavy-bottomed large pot over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and broccoli; cook until soft and starting to brown. Add garlic and dried herbs; cook until fragrant.
- Remove pot from heat. Add beans and chicken broth, and puree until smooth using a hand-blender (or transfer ingredients to a heat-proof blender). Be careful!
- Return pot to stove on low heat and add cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, and allow to simmer.
- As sauce simmers, prepare chicken. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding pan; turn until golden on all sides (does not need to be completely cooked through). Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
- In same frying pan, heat remaining olive oil (or butter). Add mushrooms, garlic and onion; cook until onions become golden and mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with liquid and add chicken back into pan. Allow to simmer until rice is finished cooking.
- Add chicken-mushroom mixture, parsley and broccoli florets to bean sauce and stir to combine; turn off heat.
- Layer rice on the bottom of a oven-safe casserole dish and pour casserole filling over top. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes in a 350° oven until golden and bubbly.