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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chicken and broccoli casserole

I began by searching for a replacement for my old chicken and broccoli casserole, for one without the cream of chicken soup. I started making it with corn starch, broth and melted cheese for the sauce. After a while I learned to ditch the cornstarch and thicken the sauce with flour and butter (a classic roux). Now we are a non flour family so I had to adjust my recipe once again. So here it is: chicken and broccoli casserole- no wheat, corn starch or condensed processed soup!!!!


Whole chicken
2 lbs cut broccoli
1 cup chicken stock/broth
1/2 cup water
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Bake the chicken in the oven (I use an iron skillet) at 350 for 1-2 hours, until the meat thermometer says its done or the legs pull off easily and juices run clear. Remove from oven and let cool on carving board.

Slice broccoli and arrange in bottom of baking dish (like you used to with noodles :). Pull apart chicken and layer on top. Using the skillet with the chicken droppings, add broth and water, bring to a boil scraping off the caramelized bits and stir them into the sauce. Add cheese and continue to stir until melted and the sauce starts to thicken. Pour over chicken and broccoli, bake for 20 minutes at 350. Serve warm.

I usually throw the chicken in the oven after breakfast and by lunchtime I am pulling the chicken apart. It works out nicely to have little hands grabbing chicken for lunch and I still have plenty of meat for the casserole that I put in the oven at dinner time! So I really get 2 meals out of this recipe. The first time I made this I wasn't home for dinner, but put the dish in the oven and went to a meeting when my husband got home. I returned to a completely empty pan and a very full family! Always a good sign.

Update: my mother in law tried this recipe last night and unlike my chicken that had very little drippings in the pan, their's had a ton. When she followed the recipe and added water and broth it ended up being too much liquid to ever thicken up. Although they loved the flavor and casserole anyway. So, you may want to see how much liquid to add depending on the drippings left. Remember you are not using anything but cheese to thicken this so adjust accordingly.

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