Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever: Curried Chicken Breast Casserole

I'm not even sure what to say here.  Hell, I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I picked this doozy.  What the heck is this thing?  This scary monster of a casserole?  It vaguely reminds me of something from a bad 1950's cookbook, but I can't believe they even ate things this horrifying.

Everything in this casserole seems to be at war with everything else.  It just didn't come together.  And maybe the darn thing was supposed to have black olives on top, but since the lovely directions just said "ripe olives", I went with the ones in my refrigerator.  Not that black olives would have saved it.  Plus the rice was hard.  I HATE hard crunchy rice.  Unless I mean for it to turn out that way.  Mmmm....socarrat.

Curried Chicken Breast Casserole
From The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas

1½ cups basmati or another long-grain rice
1½ cup chicken broth
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup pitted ripe olives, quartered
Toasted coconut for serving
Raisins for serving
Dry-roasted peanuts for serving
Mango chutney for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the rice evenly in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and pour the chicken broth over the rice.

Cut the chicken breasts into 2-inch pieces and dust with 2 tablespoons of the flour. Arrange the pieces on top of the rice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet and add the green onions, curry powder, and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons flour into the pan and slowly add the coconut milk, whisking to keep the sauce smooth. Cook until thickened. Add the sugar and lemon juice.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is done. Sprinkle with the olives.
Put the coconut, raisins, peanuts, and chutney in small serving dishes and pass at the table.

Makes 6 servings

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