January 20, 2017
Comfort Food, Dinner, Lunch,
Main Dish, Poultry, Chicken, Dairy, Cheese, Rice, White Rice, North American, Budget-Friendly, Easy/Beginner Cooking, Kid Pleaser, Make-Ahead, Small Batch Cooking, Fall/Autumn, Winter, Weeknight Meals, Oven Bake, Stove Top, No Eggs, Wine, Cooked Chicken or Beef more
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"This is an old classic dish; but, it is still really good. It is basically - 'good comfort food.' Very easy to prepare, not expensive; and, makes a perfect weeknight dish. Just serve a salad on the side; and, dinner is done. Now, to make this easy; I use a quick cooking rice. However, if you have a rice cooker; that would work perfect - or, you can make the rice the day or night before too. I have even used leftover rice from another meal (or even Chinese take out) I froze. So, this is meant to be a quick and easy dish to prepare. And, a rotisserie chicken is perfect for this."
Base ... Add the olive oil to a large non-stick saute pan; and, bring to medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, seasoning, salt, pepper; and cook 2-3 minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring often. Then, add the flour and stir to make a roux; and, cook a couple of minutes to get rid of that 'raw' flour taste. Add, the chicken broth/stock; and, whisk until creamy and smooth - like a gravy. Add the milk, dijon, (optional sherry wine), and re-season again, with salt and pepper to taste. Remember, the ham and cheese are both salty; so, I always go lighter on the salt. Bring to just under a boil; until the sauce has thickened; then, remove from the heat.
Chicken, Ham and Rice ... Add the chicken, ham, rice, and 1 cup of the cheese cheese to the base mix; and, stir until combined.
Bake ... You can use any size baking dish you want; I have a 10" oval dish which works perfect; but, use what you have. Make sure you either line it with parchment paper; or, you can use a non-stick spray, which is what I prefer.
Add the creamy mixture to casserole dish; and top with the buttered breadcrumbs (mix the bread crumbs and butter together). Finish with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
Bake ... In a preheated oven on the middle shelf, 400 degrees, for 20-30 minutes; until golden brown and bubbly. Remember, everything is already cooked through.
Serve and ENJOY! ... Finish with chopped parsley; and, the optional bacon bits. Now, the bacon is optional; but, I think it really offers a great taste to the dish. Serve a salad on the side. It isn't fancy, and nothing special; but, it is just good simple comfort food.
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