Okey dokey – if you are a food snob or vegetarian, move long, nothing to see here. If you do like easy meals, this is for you. I think this is probably THE chicken casserole for all Southern potlucks, church dinners, food to take to a family in time of bereavement, Sunday dinner, company dinner, family dinner. And…if it is good enough to make a daily appearance on the buffet at the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia, it’s good enough for me.
Don’t let the canned soups put you off. You can certainly use the low sodium, reduced fat versions of them, or if you just have lots of time, your own sauce, and please, feel free to use fat free/reduced fat sour cream and heart smart kind of margarine. Although to be honest, I’d rather eat some forthright butter than artificial margarine with all the unpronounceable ingredients – but that is just me. You can also reduce the amount of butter by up to one-half.
You can use leftover chicken, turkey, a rotisserie chicken from the grocer or of course, your own poached chicken breasts, skin and bones removed. I buy chicken breasts on sale, boil, de-skin, de-done and seal up in 2 cup portions so I always have chicken on hand for casseroles, salads, and chicken salad. You can also use broth made from boullion or what I really love and always keep on hand, is a chicken or turkey base – the kind that is a paste and comes in a jar and can found at your local grocery store.
Additional seasonings can be added: sautéed onion, celery, chopped parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, sprinkle of ground cayenne pepper. You can also put in a layer (at the bottom) vegetables: blanched asparagus, thawed frozen or blanched broccoli, thawed mixed veggies. This casserole is your canvas – use your own palate of flavors and ingredients to make it unique. Whole cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used for a nice company presentation. But folks seem to like it best in its simple, original downhome glory.
This week I will be having this for dinner along with Waldorf salad, and pumpkin bread for dessert. It’s getting cool down here below the Mason-Dixon and time for warm comfort food. Oh my goodness, I can smell this cooking now. Y’all enjoy.
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can of cream of chicken soup
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
4 cups of chopped or shredded, cooked chicken
1-1/2 sleeves of “buttery” crackers or Ritz, if you have to have a name brand
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the soups, sour cream and chicken broth. Add other seasonings as desired, taste and adjust; set aside. Place chicken into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and cover with the soup mixture. In a separate small bowl, crumble the crackersand mix with melted butter; spread on top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and cracker topping has browned. Remove and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Can be served as is, or spooned over cooked rice or noodles. A light sprinkle of cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese the last few minutes is a good addition.