Last week or so I watched an episode of Sunny Anderson's show on the Food Network. To be honest, she's not usually my fav. I think it's because it seems like she makes everything very spicy or very fattening. With that being said, I have found a few of her recipes that I really really like. This would be one of them. However, I modified the recipe a lot. It definitely fell into the really fattening category. I think it topped out at around 800 calories or so per serving, but I stopped counting at some point. My recipe isn't exactly healthy, but it's better. Also, I would think that this would make a great freezer meal, because the wild rice wouldn't get mushy.
Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil *or butter if you want*
1/4 tsp thyme *or one fresh sprig*
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp salt
4 chicken breasts
1 cup wild rice *this is really expensive. I don't see why you couldn't use a wild rice mix, or any other type of rice that you like. I splurged and got the wild, which was super good though*
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup frozen sour cherries, fresh or frozen *the original recipe called for cranberries. However, I couldn't find them at the store. I think they would be delicious, but you may want to up the sugar a little if you use them*
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup bread crumbs
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups half&half *you could also use evaporated milk or just milk to make it healthier*
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 and spray a 9x13 casserole dish.
In a large saucepan combine enough water to cover the chicken, thyme, bay leaf, and salt. Bring the water to a boil and add in the chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove from water and chop into 1/2 inch cubes.
If using wild rice, return the water to a boil and add in the rice. Rice is done when grains start to split open. This will take about 45 mins. Drain wild rice and set aside. If using other rice, just follow the package directions and cook on the side.
In a small pot over medium heat, melt the two tbsp of butter. Add in the cherries (or cranberries), sugar, breadcrumbs, rosemary, and a pinch of salt. Stir until sugar dissolves and set aside. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add in the mushrooms and onions. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add in the half&half and simmer for a couple minutes until slightly thickened. Add the gruyere, chicken, and rice into the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the casserole dish.
Spread the cherry mixture over the top and bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and a little golden. Let cool about 10 minutes to thicken up and serve.
*This recipe was really good. I know the sweetened topping seems weird, but it adds a little tang, that is super yummy. Next time, I want to try it with cranberries, because they are even tangier. Also, I can't say enough about how in love I am with gruyere cheese. However, it's a little pricey. So, I think another bolder cheese, like swiss or sharp white cheddar, would be great too.*
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Have a great day!!