Sunday, May 30, 2010

Not U Momma's Chicken Casserole

Food is love is tradition.  Yes, I know I'm weird.  But, my mother made nothing like this.  I am comfort cooking today. 

For starters, I need a roasted red bell pepper.  Clean a sweet pepper of your choice and break it so that it lays flat.  Rub olive oil all over it and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Stick it under a broiler, watching it until its skin blackens. 

Pull it out and let it cool until it can be handled.  The skin has separated from the rest and will easily pull away leaving a much more flavorable version of a pepper.  Don't skip this step.  It is worth it.  Finely chop this and set aside. 

2 T olive oil, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 stalk celery finely chopped, 1 carrot finely chopped.  Just a couple things about that:  First, this is a shallot.  A shallot is an onion with much milder flavor.  I prefer them.  I grown them some years.  This one came from my local produce company.

Second, I'm a little dense.  I've only recently figured out that celery is not a local crop and I am trying to buy more local food.  I've decided not to buy it again for a while. 
Chop everything as finely as possible.  Texture is an important part of cooking, even simple and humble food like this. Cook it until is is very soft and a little browned.  Set aside.

Now in another skillet,  2T. butter melted,  Add 2 T. flour and stir with a wooden spoon.  Then 2 cups whole milk.  Whisk it fairly constantly.  As the milk heats,the flour will thicken it.  If there are lumps, work them out with a back of a spoon or smush them with a wisk  Add another cup, this time 1/2 and 1/2.  Yes, I know.  Add the chopped pepper, the sauted vegetables.   It's creamy rich but needs some seasoning.  Add 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper.  Add 1/2 t. worchestershire sauce

This is 3 chicken thighs which were roasted, skin and bone on with just a little olive oil and salt a couple days ago for another dish.  Bone and skin is discharded and the meat chopped and into the sauce it goes along with 1 cup of cooked rice.

A big bunch of parsley from my garden.  Chopped finely and into the mix. 

Then I turned it all into a casserole dish and into the oven at 350.   It simmered stove top for about 20 minutes, so 15 minutes in the oven is plenty.  Every thing is cooked.  We are just looking for the sauce to set up and the flavors to combine. 

I know these things aren't gourmet meals, but they bring people to the table. 

They are comforting.  They remind me of a safer world.  But this is not my mother's chicken casserole.  

Remember to take good care of yourself.


1 comment:

  1. I love chicken cassaroles and haven't made one in ages!!! Great post.