Chicken - Chicken and Rice for a Crowd 

For a crowd! Makes 2 hotel sized pans.

~Add vegetables to this basic recipe!
-Add garlic, always welcome, sometimes forgot!
-Saute onions in the butter before adding the flour.
-Saute in some celery as well.
-Stir in some peas.
-Add roasted carrots.
-Add any other roasted vegetables which will hold without becoming overcooked: kale,rudabaga, spinach.
-Broccoli and brussels sprouts are good but can overcook.
-Stir in 2 lb grated cheddar cheese
-Top with parmesan cheese
-Stir in heavy cream after the casserole is put together.
-Stir in some white wine after the casserole is put together.
~Salt your chicken in advance to let it season from within!
7-8 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:
In two hotel pans:
3 c rice each pan
3 c water each pan
If using long grain brown rice let soak in cold water for 30 minutes.
Add 1 t salt to each pan. Bake 400* about 30 minutes until almost tender.

~Make the white sauce (for TWO hotel pans)
In 15 qt brazier melt butter, saute in flour, salt and white pepper. Cook until nutty smelling and golden brown. Whisk in milk and broth gradually and cook until thick and a little bubbly. Takes a while for such a quantity:
1 lb unsalted butter
2 c flour
3 T salt
1 t white pepper
1 gallon whole milk
1 quart chicken broth

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 white sauced chicken into the mostly cooked rice in the hotel pans.

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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