Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Pure comfort food
The About.com Guide to Southern Cooking Copyright 2006
3 to 4 boneless chicken breasts halves, rinsed and patted dry
1 ½ cups chicken broth I used low-sodium
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
dash ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 ½ cups cooked rice I used brown rice, over 3 cups - I didn't measure
1 cup fresh bread crumbs I used whole-grain white bread
2 tablespoons melted butter
1. Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with the chicken broth, seasoned salt, and a dash of pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until cooked through. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken breasts to a plate. Cover loosely with foil and let cool.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Strain the broth into a large cup or small bowl; set aside. In the same saucepan, melt the butter. Over medium-low heat, sauté the chopped celery and onion until tender. Stir in the flour until well blended. Gradually stir in the reserved chicken broth and milk. Cook the sauce, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
4. Chop the cooled chicken into bite-size pieces. Add the chicken to the sauce mixture along with the cooked rice. Spoon the chicken and rice mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish.
5. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter; sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly, and bread crumbs are lightly browned.
This really hit the spot, even though we were having one of the warmest days of the year so far yesterday. The night before we ate this, I made the chicken and the rice and chopped up the onions and celery. After work, I made the white sauce and put it all together.
This is definitely a keeper - it's economical (you can stretch a smaller amount of chicken, turkey or even ham into a main course), it's all from scratch so you can control the salt and fat, and it's versatile (you can vary the meats and veggies).
This cookbook was from the library and I wasn't too sure about it but since it was one of the few cookbooks on the new book shelf, I checked it out. It's sort of insane - they cycle of recipes moving from cookbooks to the internet then back to a cookbook. The book refers you to many about.com pages (the information in the book is complete but the links lead you to related subjects outside the scope of the book). Personally, I don't see myself reading a cookbook and typing links into my computer at the same time but that's just me. I wouldn't buy this book since it includes basic recipes I already have and it's not very visually stimulating but it was worth checking out of the library.
Yesterday I had the strange experience of stopping in a bookstore and not walking out with a cookbook - I wasn't at all tempted. Don't panic - it wasn't like I was in Ollie's. The bookstore I was in only carried bargain cookbooks (which are more expensive that most books in Ollie's AND about 75% 0f them are Favorite Brand Name books which tend to use the same recipes over and over and I already several of their books) and retail-priced cookbooks (and I'm too cheap to buy retail in a regular bookstore). Still, I usually walk out with something. I'm not complaining though - I've picked up quite a few books lately. It's good to have a lull in my sickness.
Blast From The Past: Spanish Rice with Ground Beef from September 2006 - another recipe I'm adding to my 'quick meals list' for the summer.
Question of the Day: What's your favorite comfort food?