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Chicken and Rice Casserole with Spinach and Shiitakes

Charles E. Walton IV
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 25 mins
Bake time 45 mins
Yield Makes 8 servings
We used Lundberg Wehani & Wild Rice blend, but any brown rice blend, regular brown rice or wild rice, or barley would be delicious in this casserole. Leave out the chicken for a vegetarian main dish. Great for a potluck.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, halved vertically and thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound shiitake or other mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
  • 2 (12-ounce) bunches spinach, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped OR 2 (5-ounce) packages prewashed spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounces Gruyère, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups hot cooked brown or wild rice
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast meat, shredded (12 ounces)

How to Make It

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and cook 8 minutes or until softened. Add half of spinach, and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach begins to wilt. Add remaining spinach, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until all spinach has wilted.

  2. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, about 5 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat, and slowly whisk in Gruyère, whisking until smooth. Whisk in salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture, rice, and chicken; transfer to a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch (4-quart) casserole dish.

  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or bake, covered with foil, at 375° for 45 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.