Curtis Stone’s Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
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“A casserole with a bubbling sauce and golden topping is the very definition of a homey family dinner, but it’s also a great dish to serve to a group of buddies. My update is to make it with all fresh ingredients. Who can resist morsels of juicy chicken, meaty bits of mushrooms and broccoli florets bathed in gravy, with a crunchy Parm and breadcrumb topping? Not me, or anyone in my house.”
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into large bite-size pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces broccoli, trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets with 1-inch stems and blanched for 1 minute*
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese dried breadcrumbs)
*Blanching Basics: Don’t be afraid of fancy culinary terms like “blanching.” Basically all you’re doing is cooking food, like broccoli, in boiling salted water for just a few minutes, or until its color brightens, then plunging it into ice water to stop the cooking. It’s necessary in this recipe to form the delicious creamy sauce- if the broccoli is not blanched first, the sauce will curdle- so don’t skip it.
Preheat the broiler.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and the chicken and cook, turning the chicken occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until golden. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and the mushrooms to the pan and sauté the mushrooms for about 4 minutes, or until golden. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the wine and simmer for about 20 seconds, or until it evaporates. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to blend. Stir in the milk and cream, and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Stir the chicken, any accumulated juices and the broccoli into the sauce and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the chicken and broccoli are warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch baking dish or gratin dish. (Make-Ahead: The chicken-broccoli mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. To rewarm, cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until hot, then top with the breadcrumb mixture and broil as directed.)
In a medium bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese, panko and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, tossing well, then sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole. Broil, uncovered, watching closely, for 2-3 minutes, or until the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown.
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