This rustic one-pot meal, a company's-coming riff on the old-school chicken-and-rice number, is held together by a tangy gravy flavored with country ham and mushrooms. Nutty wild rice helps sop up all the good chicken gravy.
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 (6-oz.) container uncooked wild rice
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped country ham or bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 large carrot, finely chopped
8 ounces assorted fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine
4 skinned and boned chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb.)
Bring 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1 qt. water to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over high heat. Stir in rice, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and next 2 ingredients. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper.
Cook ham in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 6 minutes or until beginning to brown. Stir in onion and next 2 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add sherry, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until sherry is evaporated. Remove mixture from skillet.
Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet. Cook chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat 4 minutes on each side or until brown. Remove skillet from heat; transfer chicken to a plate.
Drain rice. Stir together rice, ham mixture, and sauce in skillet. Place chicken on top of rice mixture.
Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and chicken is done. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Note: We tested with Canoe 100% Natural Wild Rice.
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