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, (slice down the middle, rinse in between all the layers, slice down the middle of each half and slice thinly, removing the dark green parts)
- 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.