I love wild rice, with its chewy nutty texture it really makes this a lovely dish.
The down side is wild rice takes much longer to cook. If you don't have the 45 minutes to make the rice first and then bake for another 30 minutes you can use white rice or make the wild rice the day before. You won't regret the time, the difference is huge it really adds a lot to the flavor and texture.
Top off the rice and chicken with a creamy sherry sauce and some nutty gruyere cheese and OMG this casserole can go to the table for company!
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
cook time 35-45 for wild rice and 35 minutes to bake casserole
1 cup wild rice
1 3/4 cup chicken stock (more if your rice pkg requires more liquid for cooking)
1/2 cup additional chicken stock for sauce
1/2 cup milk (I use low fat and it works beautifully)
1/2 cup sherry
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into medium dice
4 Tb butter
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (I use non fat, full fat or sour cream are lovely as well)
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 onion cut in half and sliced
3 stems fresh thyme
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 Tb toasted bread crumbs (Pkgd are fine here)
3 Tb Parmesan grated
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
In a small sauce pot cook rice according to pkg directions.
Pre heat oven to 350
While rice is cooking melt 2 Tb of butter in a skillet over med-high heat. To that add your chicken and cook stirring occasionally until starting to brown. About 8-10 minutes
When the chicken is almost cooked through and browning lower heat to medium, add the celery, garlic, onion, and thyme leaves from 2 stems. Continue cooking until onions are transparent and beginning to brown as well. About 5-7 minutes. Pour in your sherry and let cook for another minute, season with salt and pepper and turn off heat and let sit.
While chicken and rice are cooking prepare your baking dish, spray a 2qt dish with olive oil spray and sprinkle 2 Tb bread crumbs in bottom and spread evenly.
Start your sauce by melting 2 Tb butter over med heat, then whisk in 2 Tb flour and combine completely. Slowly while whisking add your 1/2 cup stock and your milk. Once that is fully combined and smooth add 1 stem of thyme, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper, let cook for about 3-4 minutes until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove thyme stem.
When rice is finished add to the chicken mixture along with your sauce and the yogurt, mix well and pour into baking dish.
Top with gruyere, remaining 2 Tb bread crumbs and parmesan mixture and spray with olive oil spray or drizzle with melted butter.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
I would serve with a simple butter lettuce salad with sliced pears, toasted walnuts and a mustard vinaigrette.