Wild rice is one of those foods I never liked growing up. Sometimes when it was cooked, it would curl up and look like snail. It grossed me out so bad I would never eat it. EVER. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve wondered what the heck kind of rice it really was as I’ve never seen wild rice curl again. So, that’s weird.
Being from Minnesota, every dish gets salt and pepper. Some, just out of habit, and others for sheer need. This recipe is sheer need. The sauce was great but did not cover much of the rice taste and it definitely needed a little extra boost. I am more of a fan of adding salt and pepper when you are eating a hotdish since you can’t just stir it around in the oven and try it. Feel free to add salt and pepper before or after. If you like a little spice, we also sprinkled some Tony’s Cajun seasoning on ours and it was seriously delicious.
Wild rice takes a very long time to cook so if you happen to be making a long dinner the night before, I’d boil the rice then. That way you don’t have to more than double the cooking time just waiting for the rice to cook. I also used leftover chicken peeled off my Slow Cooker Whole Chicken along with the veggies I had cooked inside. If you do not have cooked, shredded chicken, just cook up 2 chicken breasts and shred them and boil some veggies while you’re doing the rice to soften the veggies. My boy hates chunks of veggies so I ran mine through the food processor, but feel free to make them as chunky as you like.
Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Hotdish
1c Wild rice
1/2c Chicken broth
2 Bay leaves
2c Chicken, cooked and shredded
1 Carrot, diced
1/2 Onion, diced
1 Stalk celery, diced
1/2c Italian cheese, shredded
1c Colby Jack cheese, shredded
Salt, pepper, and Tony’s, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Bring 4c water to a boil and add rice. Cook about 45 minutes or until rice splits open. Check back of rice package for directions as well
3. In pan, sauté veggies in a little oil until veggies are soft. Put aside
4. Bring chicken broth, bay leaves, and basil to a boil. Add in flour while vigorously whisking to make sure there are no clumps. If it does get clumpy, you won’t notice once it’s in the casserole. Cook until it resembles a thin gravy. The rice will soak up a little of this liquid while it bakes so that it won’t dry out
5. Mix together wild rice, chicken, veggies, chicken gravy, Italian cheese, and half of the Colby Jack cheese. Pour into an oven safe container and top with remaining Colby Jack
6. Bake until warmed through and cheese is melted on top. Ours took about 30 minutes but I had made it earlier in the day and popped it in the fridge so it was cold when I put it in the oven. I would guess around 10-15 minutes should be fine
7. Top with salt, pepper, and Tony’s and enjoy!