Chef’s Note: The soup base is one of the ingredients that makes this dish. As I’ve mentioned before, I seldom cook using processed or canned ingredients, and this casserole is no exception to the rule. Here’s the recipe for the base of this casserole. It’s easy to produce, and makes all the difference in the world. Master Recipe: Cream of "Whatever" Soup Base
Cook the rice using 50% less water than recommended, and cut the cooking time in half. I want the rice cooked, but not “fully” cooked.
Cook the chicken breasts, and then shred, and reserve.
Chef’s Note: I like to season them with a bit of salt and pepper, and then sauté them in some butter and oil.
You can purchase pre-shredded chicken from your local market... But where's the fun in that?
Mix the panko, and Parmesan together, and reserve.
Place a rack in the bottom position, and preheat the oven to 400f (205c).
Lightly butter an ovenproof baking dish (9x13), and reserve.
Add the butter to a sauté pan over medium heat.
When the foaming subsides, add the onion, celery, and garlic.
Sauté until the onions begin to soften, but not brown, about 3 – 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, and add the shredded chicken, the soup base, and the rice.
Chef’s Note: If you are using the optional peas, and broccoli, add them now.
Stir until the mixture is warmed through, but not boiling.
Chef’s Tip: If the mixture is a bit thick, add a little chicken stock to thin it down.
Chef’s Note: At this point taste and do any final seasoning (salt, pepper, etc.).
Add the mixture to the reserved baking dish.
Place the Provolone slices over the top of the mixture.
Top with the Parmesan/Panko mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven until the top begins to lightly brown, about 30 minutes.
My favorite way to serve this is rustic style. Place the baking dish on a sideboard with a big spoon, and tell your guests to dig in. Add some good crusty bread, and a nice side salad, and you’re in business. Enjoy.