Thursday, December 18, 2014

Southern Baked Chicken Casserole

I recommend ALL of the above.

Southern cooking: it invokes a mental image of large women in floral apron working in big old hot kitchen with a screen door for the breeze, lots of chicken and veggies, simple but rich. I could go on, but you get the idea. This is what was going through my mind when I read this recipe. Does it hold up? Let us find out!

An aside before we begin. By completing this recipe, you are inherently a bad person in my book. I like crackers and crushing a whole sleeve is an act of gratuitous violence in my book.

A thing of beauty.
I am a MoNsTeR! I will have nightmares of this day.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped pimentos, drained (more or less a 4-ounce jar)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed (4 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350° (if you have not chopped everything up, preheat in the middle of chopping). In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 6-10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the mayonnaise, chicken and pimentos.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a 2 (ish) quart baking dish. Scatter the crushed crackers on top. Bake for about 30-45 minutes, until the casserole is golden and bubbling. Let rest before serving.

No bubbles: not ready. Or in this case, not cooked at all.

Lots of bubbles = done.

I left the instructions as rotisserie chicken even though I did not use it. I love those chickens. $5 at the grocery or Sam’s gets you a whole chicken cooked to salty perfection.  Hell they are typically cheaper than an uncooked chicken (which confuses me). Drool… point is when I buy one I eat the hell out of it. I see recipes all the time for the leftovers. Does not happen in my world. So I used about 1.5 lbs of diced lightly seasoned chicken breast meat.

Speaking of salt, be careful here. You salt before a salty ingredient. Sure the salty chicken is mixed in but the Ritz are yet to come. Just make sure you balance salt added to the chicken AND Ritz.

I would not sweat the exact vegetables and quantities here. I threw in TWO stalks of celery because I am a wild and crazy guy.

Vegetables are tasty.

Vegetables are even more tasty when drowning in milk and butter and oil.

I used skim milk since it was what was in the fridge. The sauce still thickened quite nicely and tasted relatively rich.

Frank’s was originally tabasco sauce but otherwise this is more or less unmodified from the original. I did not use much. I was convinced I could talk the wifey into trying this one. Did not happen. I wish I used more. Pregnant wifeys: they are trouble, I am telling you. ;)

It was good. Southern enough. I am a life long Northerner, so I am guessing honestly. Anyway I am unsure if I will ever make it again, but I have no regrets.

No comments:

Post a Comment