Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken or Turkey and Stuffing Casserole

Yes, another casserole...and we're having yet another one for dinner (the famous zucchini casserole, but then, I've already posted that recipe)


I was recently at my mother's and she decided to make this casserole for dinner for everyone. She had to run an errand in the middle and so I got to finish it up.
This recipe is originally titled "Mrs. Johns' Scalloped Chicken".
I was amazed at how no part of this recipe is really very easy (not even the title). As I was helping my mom, I realized that there were many steps that could be revised or eliminated with this recipe which would offer almost the same result. Once we got back home, I decided to try it out. I'm actually going to post this recipe with two variations. The first variation is the condensed books variation, while the second is the super quick cliff notes version for the truly busy! There are also ideas for a third variation of this recipe as well for the day after Thanksgiving Day Casserole.

If you wanted a labor intensive experience, feel free to use a 5 lb. hen, boiled for 2.5 hours with an onion, a carrot and salt. Then take it all apart, grind the giblets in and follow remainder of recipe, substituting any chicken fat for butter. While this probably gives a better flavor, I found it extremely time intensive.

6-10 boneless & skinless chicken thigh fillets
1 1/2 loaves of 2 day old bread torn into bite size pieces
1 1/2 c. butter (divided)
2 large celery stalks chopped
1 medium onion (or 6 scallions with tops) chopped
6 sprigs parsley chopped
1 c. flour
4 c. chicken broth (divided)
2 t. salt
3 eggs (optional for a very creamy experience)
1 t. poultry seasoning (or sage & thyme)

Poach chicken by bringing water to just under a boil and cook for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from water and chop into 1/2 - 1 inch size pieces.

While chicken is cooking, melt 1/2 c. butter in heavy skillet. Add parsley, onion and celery and sauté over low heat for five minutes. Tear bread into bite sized pieces and add, lightly tossing to coat. Add 1 t. salt, a good dash of pepper, 1 t. poultry seasoning, and 6 T. chicken broth. Set aside.

Melt 1 c. butter in heavy saucepan. Add 1 c. flour and mix to make a roué. Allow to cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. While briskly stirring, add 1 c. milk and remaining chicken broth. Add 2 t. salt. Continue to cook until very thick, stirring constantly. If desired, beat 3 eggs slightly, and add a small amount of sauce - whisking briskly to keep eggs from cooking. Then add eggs to sauce, cooking over low heat for an additional 3-4 minutes stirring constantly.

Finally, add chopped chicken to sauce.

Grease one large or two small casserole dishes. Place 2/3 of the stuffing mixture on the bottom of the dish, and then cover with chicken and sauce.

Cover with remaining stuffing mixture and bake at 375* for 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown, and chicken is thoroughly heated.

Variation #2
3 - 4 cans chicken (drained - reserve juices)
1 1/2 packages chicken flavor stove top stuffing
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Prepare stuffing as directed on package. Set aside.
In a saucepan mix cream of chicken soup, reserved juices and just enough milk to make a very thick yogurt like consistency. Add chicken.

Place 2/3 stuffing mix on bottom of greased casserole dish. Cover with chicken and sauce mixture. Top with remaining stuffing and bake at 375* for 20 minutes until browned and thoroughly heated.

Variation #3
Use this recipe for all of the leftovers from Thanksgiving for this "Day after Thanksgiving Casserole".
Grease a casserole pan and line it with 2-3 c. stuffing.
Mix 3-4 c. chopped turkey into 2 cups of leftover gravy. If mashed potatoes are on hand, cover stuffing with potatoes, then cover potatoes with gravy and turkey mixture. Cover with stuffing and bake until heated.

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