Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicken, Mushroom & Brown Rice Casserole

People can be divided into two camps:  those who enjoy a good casserole and those who are skeptical of anything resembling a casserole.  My girls are the suspicious type (they like all the parts of their meal separated) and my husband and I are the first type (even though we have a relatively high bar).  Casseroles remind me of church suppers and bringing (or being brought) meals when a baby is born or someone is sick. 

It seems like casserole recipes of this sort usually rely on condensed soup to hold it all together.  I liked how this was just sour cream, cheese and broth.  For a casserole, the lean protein, brown rice, and vegetables make it a relatively light option.  You could probably add zucchini, celery or other vegetables to the beginning of the recipe and I bet wild rice would work as well as brown rice if  you had that handy.  Also, if you wanted to lighten it even further, you could omit the last cup of cheese on top (but that part was especially yummy!).  Bonus:  It's gluten free, you can make it ahead of time (see note at end) and I used a rotisserie chicken which made this super quick to put together.  Just take into consideration the cooking time of the brown rice (or you could use the already cooked brown rice from Trader Joe's).

For those of you who like casseroles, here are a couple of other options on the blog:
Chicken and wild rice casserole
Sherry lamb casserole
Chile relleno casserole
Sue's egg casserole
Puffy egg casserole

Chicken, Mushroom, and Brown Rice Casserole (serves 6)

2 c. cooked long grain brown rice
16 oz mushrooms, washed, thickly sliced, slices cut in half
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (I used a lemon herb one from Williams Sonoma)
1.5 - 2 c. diced cooked chicken (or turkey)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. low fat sour cream
1/2 c. coarsely grated parmesan cheese
2 c. grated low-fat cheese (I used a cheddar jack blend) - divided
salt, pepper and olive oil

Cook brown rice according to package directions and let it cool.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and sauté the mushrooms until they're starting to brown and all the liquid has evaporated.  Remove them to a dish.

Add the onions and carrot to the same pan.  Add a little more olive oil and sauté 4-5 minutes or until the onion has softened.  Add the thyme, poultry seasoning, some salt and pepper, and sauté about 2 minutes more.  Turn off the heat and add the chicken, mushrooms, and rice (if your pan isn't large enough, combine the vegetables, chicken and rice in a large bowl).  Gently stir until all the meat and vegetables are evenly distributed in the rice.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and broth.  Then stir in the parmesan cheese and 1 cup of the grated low-fat cheese.  Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice mixture.  Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with olive oil).  Spoon the rice mixture into the dish and press down to evenly distribute.  Bake for 25 minutes or until casserole is slightly bubbling and barely starting to brown.  Sprinkle with the second cup of cheese and bake about 15 minutes more.  Serve hot.

Make ahead:  I made it up to the point of putting it in the oven and refrigerated it.  Then, I added 5-10 extra minutes to the baking time.


  1. Yum yum!
    Maybe I'll post my family's enchilada casserole recipe soon.

  2. Do it! I'd love to see it . . .