Chicken - Creamy Chicken and Rice 

A simple rich and creamy chicken casserole. Made in my 5 qt casserole pan to serve about 16.

*Top with about 1 c parmesan cheese
*Stir in 1 lb grated cheddar cheese.
*When the casserole is assembled, stir in 1 c heavy cream.
*When the casserole is assembled, stir in some white wine.
*1-2 lb carrots cut small, roasted separately, or sauteed with the onions.
*1 lb celery cut small, sauteed with the onions or added to the cooking white sauce.
*When the casserole is assembled stir in a bag of frozen peas.
*Add any other roasted vegetables which will hold without becoming overcooked: kale, rudabaga, spinach.
-Broccoli and brussels sprouts are good but can overcook.
~Salt your chicken in advance to let it season from within:
2 lb boneless chicken breasts sliced into thin strips.
Salt generously allowing 1-2 hours on the counter for the salt to work through. Or salt the night before.

~Make the rice:
2 c rice
2 c water
1/2 t salt
If using long grain brown rice let soak in cold water for 30 minutes.
Cook it only until it is mostly but not all the way soft. You want it to take up some of the white sauce and turn into a cohesive casserole.

~Make your white sauce:
In large allclad pan saute:
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 or so chopped onions
1 t salt sprinkled over
Add garlic

When onions are caramelized add:
1/2 c white flour
1 t of salt
Stir and saute over medium heat until it smells nutty and is golden brown.

Stir in:
3 c milk
Cook until bubbly and thick.

When sauce is very flavorful and creamy stir the already salted chicken into it. Allow just a bit for the chicken to lose its pink color.

Stir the mostly cooked rice into the sauce.

Bake very gently and hold until needed.

*Only bake until sauce has absorbed into the rice and casserole is warmed thoroughly or the chicken will overcook and the rice will lose its shape.

*Be sure to cool it a good amount before serving for it to cohere into a lovely casserole.

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