Prep Time:35 minutes |
Cook Time:30 minutes
My friend Amanda brings this classic casserole into the 21st century on her blog, onefamilyonemeal. The chicken and broccoli are roasted for extra flavor and the sauce is a total home run, with lots of cheese and a splash of sherry. Amanda bakes the chicken and broccoli in the sauce, then spoons it over cooked rice. I combine the cooked rice with the sauce and bake them together, which saves a little time, but looks a touch more homey (actually, borderline homely, but isn’t that the charm of casseroles?).
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (from a 1 lb. head)
1 cup white rice
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease a 9”X 9” or other 2qt–baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil and set aside.
While the oven is heating, brush the chicken breasts with a little olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a sheet pan. Place the broccoli florets in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of salt. When they’re well coated with the oil, spread the broccoli florets out onto a separate sheet pan. Place both sheet pans in the oven. Bake the broccoli florets for 15-20 minutes, or until they’re just cooked through, and bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until it’s cooked through and the juices run clear. Allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 1/2-inch chunks. If baking casserole immediately, leave the oven at 375˚F.
Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions. Also make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it’s melted, whisk in the flour, and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add the broth and keep whisking until it starts to thicken, breaking up any lumps as you stir. Reduce the heat to low and whisk for 3 more minutes. Whisk in the half-and-half, stirring for 1 more minute, then remove it from the heat. Stir in the sherry, cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled chicken and broccoli with the sauce and rice and stir to combine. Pour the entire mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and almonds on top and cover with aluminum foil. (You can refrigerate it at this point for up to 2 days. Let dish come to room temperature before baking.) When ready to bake it, place it in the oven covered with the foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until it’s bubbly around the edges and brown on top. Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes before serving over rice.