The delicious aroma of a Chicken Casserole baking slowly in the oven on a cold and wet Winter's day or even a sunny Winter's day, is so very comforting to me, and gives the whole family a lot to look forward to for dinner. This is the Queen of comfort food, fall-apart chicken, lovely vegetables, and a seasoned creamy sauce. Serving up this dish is like giving everyone a huge hug around the dinner table.
This Celery and Chicken casserole is our cousin's family recipe. It's a recipe with the fondest memories attached, and I love that. Mr. HRK and I often drove to Brisbane when our children were at University, and were subsequently working down there. Maleny is a beautiful retreat of a town in the mountains near the Sunshine Coast where Mr. HRK's cousin Judy still lives. We would arrive at Judy's place for an overnight stay, and she would have the most delicious meal cooked, which was always so welcome after a long drive, and this casserole was one of her dishes that I fondly remember. It always tasted so good when Judy cooked it for us. I cooked this yesterday as we are housesitting and cat sitting Nala, in Cairns at the moment for our daughter, and it was an unusually wet and cold Winter's day for Cairns. We haven't seen or spoken to Judy for quite a while, so cooking her casserole prompted us to call her and let her know I was thinking about her when I was cooking, and I think she was pretty chuffed. I'm so pleased we did as time gets away, and when we learned that she is now 82 years old, but still loving and embracing life, it reminded us that a visit is in order again as soon as we can manage it. Do you have fond memories attached to some of the recipes you love to cook?
|Nala, snuggling up in her bed on a wet and chilly night. She's Tonkinese and loves her food like we do. She was a rescue cat and is quite timid, and not a hunter which is great.|
This recipe takes a shortcut by using a tin of good quality celery soup as the creamy base, and then adding celery as the chosen compatible vegetable. The soup ensures that the creamy sauce is the right consistency when the casserole is cooked, which can be one of the biggest challenges with cooking a casserole. The advantage of using a tin of soup as a base is that the chicken pieces don't need to be dredged in flour to ensure the casserole thickens while cooking. It's impossible to tell after all the herbs, mustard and other flavourings are added that a tin of soup is the base. This recipe can be cooked quite regularly for the family without becoming boring, just by using a different flavoured soup, and the vegetable of your choice to match the soup flavour, such as asparagus, mushroom or some other seasonal vegetable, however my preference is celery. I also like to add a finely chopped carrot for extra colour and flavour. This casserole is also a very economical dish to cook for a large group of people by just doubling the quantities, and cooking in two casserole dishes if necessary.Ingredients:
Chicken legs (allow 2 per person), or 2 chicken breast fillets chopped into chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tin of vegetable soup (celery, asparagus or mushroom, I prefer celery)
2 stalks of finely chopped celery or vegetable of soup choice
2 chopped cloves of Garlic
2 tablespoons chopped Parsley (dried is fine)
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
- Saute onion gently, remove and drain.
- Brown chicken pieces, remove and drain.
- Place 1/2 of the tin of vegetable soup of choice in a casserole dish, then 1/2 cooked onion, 1/2 vegetable of choice (celery), 1/2 the parsley and the stock powder, and then the chicken pieces
- Repeat the remaining layers until all the ingredients are in the dish.
- Ease the potato slices in and around the edge of the casserole ingredients right next to the dish acting as a border between the creamy chicken sauce and the dish. (This is an optional step but I like pieces of potato in a casserole.) The potato slices need to be quite thick so they don't break down during cooking.
- Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.
- I love the versatility of making a casserole. The original recipe suggests using parsley, but you can use any herbs you like and have on hand, or grow in your garden. 2 teaspoons of chopped Tarragon is especially nice to use, however it can be a strong herb, so gently does it.
- Chicken is such a versatile meat to cook with. I have made this casserole using chicken legs and chicken fillet, depending on what I can buy at present, however chicken thigh fillets with skin on and bone in would also work very well. I always brown the chicken first though for those beautiful flavours, if using legs or thighs.
- I have also used leek and shallots instead of onion.
- Add mushrooms 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time if you have them to enhance the flavour.
- 1/2 cup of white wine or verjuice will take this dish to the next level, but may result in more liquid than you like, just thicken it with a mix of cornflour and water if necessary.
- To transform your casserole into a French cassoulet, add 1/2 cup white wine, 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon, chopped mushrooms, 3 teaspoons French Dijon mustard, and substitute cooked leeks for the onions.
- If you are working, cook this in the slow cooker to make life easier, so you can look forward to a delicious family dinner when you return home from work.
- Leftovers are delicious, and it freezes well.
We chose a nice sunny morning before the weather changed to showery and cool, to take a stroll and promenade along the Esplanade in Cairns, Far North Queensland. There were lots of tourists filling the coffee shops and shopping, as the first Cruise ship since Covid had just docked.
Nala is such a sweet and pretty kitty! We adopted two rescued kitties last Oct. and they are very shy too...at least not as bold as my old cats. The casserole sounds and looks terrific. I must admit that I have never thought of the combo of celery root and chicken, but yours turned out really great, Pauline.ReplyDelete
It was actually delicious Angie. Because I had had it cooked for me before I was confident it would be delicious. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I love recipes like this! Nice and comforting -- always welcome. Such an interesting post -- thanks.ReplyDelete
Thanks John, it's a great dish during our Winter.Delete
Pauline, chicken soup is just wonderful in winter. Enjoy Cairns. Winter is the best time to visit up there.ReplyDelete
Chel it is a lovely time to visit Cairns, but there have been wet and windy days. Quite surprising really. Hope the Toowoomba winter isn't too cold this year.Delete
I'm making my version of chicken casserole this evening as we will be without electricity and it's raining. PS my comments are showing up as anonymousReplyDelete
from Tandy I Lavender and Lime https://tandysinclair.com
Thanks Tandy, I would think you should be able to change something so your name shows up. Sometimes a mystery. That sounds serious, no electricity and raining. Perfect for a casserole.Delete
It is very casserole weather right now! And I've never heard of a Tonkinese cat before-you learn something new every day. She looks so snug in her bed :)ReplyDelete
Lorraine, a Tonkinese is a result of crossbreeding a Siamese and a Burmese.Such a pretty cat, but so timid with everyone except our daughter.Thanks for your kind comment.ReplyDelete
These are the perfect kinds of dishes: so homey, so comforting, so delicious ... and they remind you of someone you love. How could it get any better?ReplyDelete
Thanks Jeff, a dish like this certainly ticks all the right boxes.Delete
Memories and food are so intrinsically linked and can take you back to special times. I love that too! You're chicken casserole looks delicious, Pauline! Enjoy your time in Cairns. Hopefully it won't rain to much!ReplyDelete
The weather has been a bit wet and windy at times,but still so much warmer than the southern states. Yes food can trigger so many happy memories, thanks MarcellinaDelete
Hi Pauline, this dish looks warm and comforting during the colder months. Of course, here in the states we are experiencing summer-it's sweltering. Thanks for sharing this dish with us. Best, VelvaReplyDelete
Velva it's really nice to hear from you. Hard to believe it so hot where you are. It will be the same for us here in a few months time.Delete
it always amazes me that curlews hang around car parks etc in the open! silly birds. love those fishy sculptures in cairns. and i don't mind the occasional tin of celery or asparagus soup as a base for a casserole. can't believe how cold this winter is being. just saying to hubby that it seems colder than other winters.ReplyDelete
Yes every year, we say it's colder as well. Queenslander homes weren't built for cold winters. However our daughter has just been to Melbourne, and that was a wake up call as to how cold it is down there. They can have that, that's why there are so many southerners up here in Cairns at present. Keep warmDelete
Thanks for sharing 😃!ReplyDelete