Chicken Wild Rice Casserole Recipe
If you’re in need of a simple yet savory entree to serve for dinner this week, try this chicken wild rice casserole. The dish only requires a few minutes of prep and about an hour and a half in the oven. Plus, it pairs well with a wide variety of sides, so you can serve it for lunch, dinner or even breakfast.
The classic Minnesotan casserole is easy to make, yet bursting with flavor. If you cook it right, it might just become a new family favorite.
What is Wild Rice?
Did you know that wild rice isn’t rice at all? Rather, it’s a grain, and most of it comes from Minnesota. Wild rice requires specific conditions to grow: water levels between one and a half and three feet deep and three to four months of nearly freezing temperatures. It’s a process that must occur in the wild, and many Indigenous peoples have used it to cultivate the crop for centuries.
The growing conditions are best in the Upper Midwest, so the grain is a staple up there. However, you can just as easily find it on your grocery store shelf, regardless of where you live. Look for it in the rice or grain aisle and get it in bulk at your local health food store.
Gather Your Ingredients
Chicken wild rice casserole is relatively easy to make. All you need are a few simple ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen. Perhaps you can even source a few from your garden or local farmer’s market.
In the unlikely case that you’re missing one or two ingredients, you can easily make substitutions with whatever you have on hand. Just make sure all your swaps are the same consistency as the original so that your casserole comes out perfectly moist.
The measurements below will make enough food to serve eight people, but you can easily double them when feeding a crowd. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3-4 cups bread, cubed
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 1 onion
- 5 carrots
- 5 celery stalks
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
Making Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
There are a dozen ingredients in this recipe, but you don’t have to be a master chef to turn them into a delicious meal. In fact, the hardest part of making chicken wild rice casserole is the prep, and even that’s pretty easy. Simply chop the onion, carrots, celery and chicken breasts and bread into small cubes and set everything aside.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and put the veggies in a large casserole dish with the wild rice and chicken broth. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or foil and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes. When the vegetables are nearly tender, add four tablespoons of butter to a small saucepan and heat until it melts. Add the flour, salt and poultry seasoning. Cook on medium heat for one minute before whisking in the milk.
Gently stir the sauce until it reaches a thick, creamy consistency. Then, when the veggies are ready, peel back the foil and pour the sauce in. Add your cubed chicken breast and stir to combine. Quickly toss the bread cubes in a few tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle them on top of the casserole.
Crank up the heat to 450°F and bake the dish uncovered for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. When the chicken is cooked through and the bread cubes are a toasty golden brown, your casserole is ready to come out of the oven. Allow it to sit for a few minutes so the sauce has time to thicken and cool. Then, dish up the casserole with a ladle or large spoon and dig in!
What to Serve with Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
Chicken wild rice casserole has all the fixings of a well-rounded meal. In this one dish, you get fresh vegetables, grains, fats and protein. There’s even a little bit of dairy in there to promote strong, healthy bones. The dish is also incredibly filling, so you can certainly get away with serving it alone.
However, if you want to add even more nutrients to your plate, you can always serve the casserole with healthy sides like salad, fruit, grilled vegetables or portabella mushroom caps. Alternatively, you can serve a sweet but healthy dessert such as yogurt parfaits or avocado mousse.
Keeping Casseroles Simple
Casseroles are fun and easy to make because you can substitute ingredients and add or omit them based on personal preference. For instance, you might leave out the carrots if you have a picky eater in the house or add some sliced mushrooms if you need to use a package before it expires.
Sometimes, though, it’s best to keep things simple and stick to the recipe. There’s a reason why some are more popular than others. The secret’s in the sauce! And this recipe has one of the best you’ll ever taste. So, when in doubt, stick to the instructions and it’ll turn out tasty every time.
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