Cold January days call for warming comfort food. In this casserole, tender chicken pieces are simmered in a rich creamy sauce with carrots, parsnips and mushrooms.
Kids can help tear the bread to make the rustic croutons. Make it ahead and reheat it quickly when you get home.
Country Chicken Casserole
20 ml (4 tsp) olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek (white and light green parts), chopped
250 ml (1 cup) each sliced carrots and parsnips
250 ml (1 cup) quartered mushrooms
6 ml (1 1/4 tsp) dried thyme leaves, divided
1 ml (1/4 tsp) each salt and pepper
45 ml (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
250 ml (1 cup) 1 per cent milk
250 ml (1 cup) sodium-reduced chicken broth
10 ml (2 tsp) Dijon mustard
500 ml (2 cups) shredded cooked chicken or turkey
125 ml (1/2 cup) frozen peas
500 ml (2 cups) torn whole-wheat bread pieces
In a large saucepan, heat 10 ml (2 tsp) of the oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, leek, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, 4 ml (3/4 tsp) of the thyme, salt and pepper for 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
Whisk flour into milk; gradually stir into saucepan along with broth and mustard. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken and peas. Spoon into a 2 l (8-cup) baking dish. (Make ahead: Let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Reheat in microwave until hot and continue with recipe.)
In a bowl, toss bread with remaining oil and thyme until coated; sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake in a 220 C (425 F) oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until bread is toasted and sauce is bubbling.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes 4 serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 345 calories; 9 g fat;
35 g carbohydrate; 5 g fibre; 29 g protein; 550 mg sodium.
Source: Foodland Ontario.
-- The Canadian Press