I must really be a Minnesotan at heart..because, nothing says fall and comfort food like a “cream”-based casserole.
I’m going to go nostalgic here again, so bear with me. My parents were always great about feeding us well. I loved that my Mom & Dad really loved food and it showed in their cooking. One of my favorite meals, as a kid, was Chicken & Rice Casserole. Their version went something like this
- Chicken thigh, with skin on
- Cream of chicken soup
- Seasoning I am not aware of
- and of course…Love….because that’s what makes any dish really yummy, right!
I had a lot of left over Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup and remembered my favorite family meal. Being a dairy-free family, I made it a mission of mine to make this dish as similar as possible to the original, (or better!). I think I did it! Smell alone would make a vegan eater into a convert of all things chicken…
The house smelled like Thanksgiving, that’s the only way I can describe it…it just screams comfort.
I started off with all of these ingredients, (the kale and whole mushrooms will be roasted and used as a “topper” for the actual casserole.
I found an exceptionally large onion at the store and decided to only use half, that was a good call. I want this to be chicken & rice casserole, not onion soup.
I heated a cast-iron skillet and sautéed the onions until they started to turn golden.
Once the onions were golden brown I mixed them in with white basmati rice and poured them on the bottom of a casserole dish, (it has to be big enough to fit 8 cups of soup, 2 1/4 cups rice, and 6 large chicken thighs).
My parents never did this next step, but I do remember that the chicken skin was always a rubbery texture that usually was peeled and discarded.
I seasoned the thighs skin with S & P before I placed them skin-down in the skillet. I let them cook until they had a nice, golden-brown crust.
Next I poured the soup over the rice and stirred it all up a bit…there will be a lot of soup to rice ratio…do not fear! rice soaks up moisture.
Then I placed the chicken thighs in the casserole dish, wiggling them down into the soup/rice mix.
Placed all of it in a 350 oven and cooked for an hour. It smelled magical by 45 minutes!
For the mushroom/kale topping…I cleaned and quartered my mushrooms. I used pre-chopped/packaged kale, which all I did was take the fibrous stems off some of the pieces. I tossed both the kale and mushroom together with some coconut oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder
Roasted the topping off in a 375 degree oven
All that was left was to plate and devour. It was a hit!
I asked my husband if this was blog worthy and he replied with an enthusiastic, “YES!”
- 1/2 lrg. yellow onion
- 6, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 8 C. Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 2 C. white basmati rice
- 1 lb. cremini mushrooms
- 2 cups chopped kale, (or one small bunch)
- S & P
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- Preheat oven 350
- Heat cast-iron skillet over medium high-heat
- Add oil
- Saute onion until golden brown ~ 3 minutes
- Remove onion and stir with rice in bottom of large casserole dish, (needs a cover!)
- Season chicken thigh skin with S& P while still in package
- Place chicken, skin-side down in skillet
- Cook on skin-side until golden crust forms ~ 5 minutes
- Add soup to rice mixture and stir until combined
- Top rice/soup mixture with chicken thighs skin side up (I wiggled my chicken in the soup mixture a little so they were partially covered)
- Cover and bake for 1 hour
- Turn off heat and allow to sit 5 minutes
- MUSHROOM/KALE TOPPING
- preheat oven to 375
- toss mushrooms and kale in oil
- season with salt, garlic powder, and onion powder
- spread on a rimmed baking sheet, (mushrooms contain water and will make a mess with a cookie sheet)
- bake for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness, more time = more crispy
- This is not the prettiest dish, but it is oh-so-good!
- Careful when browning chicken skin....chicken thigh contains fat and water. fat + water = splatter...it is wise to use something to shield you from spitting hot liquid!