This is one of my favorite chicken casseroles. When my son was growing up he loved rice (still does), but he didn't like any casseroles made with pasta, his father on the other hand wouldn't eat a casserole made with rice. Do you see the dilemma I was in here? It made cooking a real challenge. This casserole is one that my son and I love though and it made enough for the two of us to have leftovers for a while from. It's also a really good dish to take to a potluck or family dinner, because it travels well and can be made a day or even two ahead and then baked right before your event. Here is what you will need:
3 bone in chicken breasts with skin
1 stalk celery
1 half onion
1 Tbs chicken bouillon granules or 2 chicken bouillon cubes
reserved chicken broth
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Blend (6 oz. size)
1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 sleeve Ritz or Townhouse crackers, crushed
1/2 stick of butter
Place the chicken breasts in a dutch oven and cover with water. Add the stalk of celery, onion, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and the bullion cubes or granules. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender. You can use 4 boneless chicken breasts instead, but add 2 Tbs. of butter in addition to the other ingredients if you do. You need a good broth and boneless breasts have very little fat in them. Once the chicken is done, remove it to a plate to cool enough to debone and chop in bite size pieces. Reserve the broth.
Prepare the wild rice mix according to the directions on the box, except instead of water use the chicken broth to cook the rice in. When the rice is done add the soup, additional broth, half and half, the can of soup, sour cream, curry powder, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. of seasoned salt, and Worstershire sauce. Mix all of this together until it's well blended.
Add the almonds and chopped chicken and mix those in well. Spread the mixture in a 3 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed well with nonstick spray.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over top of the rice mixture, then sread the crushed cracker crumbs over the cheese. Cut the butter in pats and lay them evenly over the cracker crumb layer. Place the casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. The crackers should just be getting nice and brown.
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole!