Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mexican-insipred Chicken and Rice Casserole

When I was younger, I always thought I didn't like rice. My parents would make white rice in a variety of different forms, and I would never eat it. At one point, in the attempt to make me eat it, my dad started putting cinnamon sugar on my rice, hoping the sweetness would make me enjoy it. I never did.

As the years went on, I started to eat rice in small amounts, as long as it wasn't too mushy and had a lot of flavor. I'll eat rice in my chipotle burritos, and I love fried rice, but I never really made rice for myself. My husband loves rice in pretty much any form, and always wants me to make it, so when I saw this this recipe for creamy chicken and rice casserole over at Pinch of Yum, I figured I would try it, assuming he would love it. I was right, he loved it, and so did I. All I changed was halving the entire recipe, making 4 instead of 8 servings. The brown rice gives the casserole a lot of texture, while the homemade cream sauce has a much better flavor than your typical canned cream of chicken soup.

After making the recipe once, I decided to add my own twist to it, and give it a bit of Mexican flair. I added black beans, bell pepper, and corn, plus some hot sauce and changed up the spices a bit. Overall, the dish turned out great, and I would recommend it, either in its original state, or the way I made it with the Mexican flair. I'm sure it could be customized in many other ways too by simply switching the veggies and spices.

Mexican-inspired Chicken and Rice Casserole
Serves 4

For cream sauce: 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
3/8 cup flour
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Tapatio*

For casserole:
Cream sauce (see above)
3/4 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cumin
1 cup bell pepper, diced
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
2 slices pepper jack cheese*

To make the cream sauce:
1. Combine the chicken broth and 1/4 cup of the milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a low boil.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, seasonings, and hot sauce into the remaining 1/2 cup milk until a smooth, thick mixture forms.
3. Pour the flour/milk mixture into the saucepan over low heat and stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and thick, 5-10 minutes.

To make the casserole:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish well.
2. Combine the uncooked rice, cream sauce (from above), and water (I actually did this in the saucepan to save a dish). Pour into prepared baking dish.
3. Place boneless chicken breasts on top of the mixture, and sprinkle seasoning.
4. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes.
5. After 45 minutes, remove foil. Carefully remove chicken and set aside. Stir in beans, corn, and pepper. Reposition chicken on top of the mixture, and bake an additional 30 minutes or until rice and chicken are cooked through and top is slightly browned.
6. Remove from oven. Carefully shred chicken, mix together, and put cheese on top. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*Other hot sauces can be used in place of Tapatio. Shredded cheese would also work, if you do not have sliced pepper jack.

I know the recipe sounds like a lot of work, but it is really quite simple, just a few quick steps, then waiting for it to cook. This made my house smell AMAZING, and the 10 minutes waiting for it to cool were torturous.

Source: Adapted from A Pinch of Yum

No comments:

Post a Comment