The first time I made this dish was over twenty years ago and I don’t remember its origin. I’d forgotten about it and rediscovered it along with a a few more recipes that were my favorites when I was making an index for all the recipes I’ve collected over the years and put into scrap books.
I had also forgotten how delicious it is. I’d put it right up there with lasagne and tetrazzini as far as a great family or guest recipe but it only takes 30 minutes to put together which makes it pretty close to a perfect recipe.
A project for the near future is going to see if it can be converted into a low carb and Paleo recipe by substituting a vegetable ‘noodle’, perhaps spaghetti squash, for the rice. But for now, this is what I made for my kids making one of those fond memories we all cherish from our moms and grandmothers.
Chicken, Leeks and Rice Casserole
- 3 6 ounce chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 cups white rice
- 2 1/4 to 3 cups chicken stock (use directions on rice package for amount of liquid)
- 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, cut down the middle and each half cut down the middle, then bunched together and thinly sliced
- 6 medium mushrooms, quartered or cut in small pieces
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- white pepper
Cut the chicken breasts into 1/2″ strips. Sprinkle lightly with salt (about 1 teaspoon per pound). Heat a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon butter. Add the strips. They will begin to release juices. Gently poach in the liquid until the pink is gone. This will only take a few minutes. Don’t overcook them or they could become tough. You can test for doneness by cutting a piece open. Cool and tear into bite-sized pieces.
Cook rice according to directions. Sauté leek and mushrooms in 1/2 cup butter for 10 minutes or until mushrooms have weeped and shrunk and leek is cooked.
Place the rice in a casserole and stir in the leek mixture, chicken and cream and a light sprinkle of white pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Stir casserole to fluff the rice.
*Leftover chicken roast or 2 chicken breasts, julienned, lightly salted, gently poached in 1 tablespoon butter just until the pink is gone so the meat is tender, then torn into bite-size pieces.