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Chicken Wild Rice Casserole with tender, flavorful chicken nestled in a bed of wild rice and mushrooms.
If you’re longing for a memorable dish that’s filling, uniquely flavored and delicious, look no further! This chicken wild rice casserole is absolutely terrific and perfectly satisfying. The casserole has a nice nutty bite from the wild rice and a deep rich flavor from the mushrooms, wine and broth. If you love wild rice and comfort food, this casserole is for you!
What kind of rice can you use in this chicken wild rice casserole?
Our chicken wild rice casserole is easily adapted to your favorite rice, or rice blend. You can even use all white or brown rice for this recipe, but I highly encourage you to use at least some wild rice to get that unforgettable nutty flavor. Wild Rice is usually sold in boxes in the rice section of the grocery store, but it’s really a whole grain aquatic grass!
I like to purchase a wild rice blend from the bulk bins at my local store. It keeps for a long time and has a wonderful combination of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, and black Japonica brown rice. According to Healthline, wild rice has an impressive amount of several key nutrients, including protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
Wild rice also contains more protein than other types of rice, but has the same amount of fiber as brown rice. Add a little wild rice to all your favorite rice dishes!
Be sure to follow the directions for the wild rice, or rice blend you are using for this dish. Some may require a longer cooking time or more moisture.
The idea for our chicken wild rice casserole came from an old recipe I used to make with a boxed rice mix and canned mushroom soup.
As you probably know, people are trying to move away from pre-packaged foods as much as possible. I’m not saying that canned soup and boxed rice mixes are bad. I try to make homemade from scratch, whenever possible, if only to cut down on the sodium and eliminate preservatives. We love whole foods!
Back in the day I used to make a box rice mix like Rice-A-Roni or Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice and pour it into a casserole dish. I topped the rice with chicken then poured a mixture of canned soup and white wine over the top. That dump and go casserole is easy to make and was on regular rotation at our house, especially when the kids were little. I wanted to transform that old casserole into a homemade version, and I did!
You can still use shortcuts like canned soup in place of the white sauce, or rotisserie chicken in place of the breasts or thighs. But when you can, try this recipe as written. I promise you won’t be sorry. The homemade white sauce gives this dish a risotto-like quality with a nice creamy texture. This chicken wild rice casserole will fill your belly and make your house smell like the most amazing chicken dish ever. I’m over the moon for this casserole and hope you will be too! This is Sunday supper at it’s finest 🙂
What kind of mushrooms should you use in this recipe?
Honestly, you can use any kind of mushrooms you want, except canned. You can use Baby Bella mushrooms, white, button or brown. Pick whatever mushrooms look terrific at your store.
How do you properly clean mushrooms?
To prepare the mushrooms for cooking use a wet paper towel and wipe off any dirt. Try not to get the entire mushroom wet as they’re already loaded with water. They don’t need to be soaked. Trim any tough ends off the stems and slice into thick pieces.
When cooking the mushrooms spread them out into a single layer if possible, and cook undisturbed until well browned on one side. Stir and flip the mushrooms and continue cooking until the moisture is released and then evaporates. This cooking method will keep the mushrooms from watering down your casserole and enhances their delicious earthy flavor. Click HERE to read a good article about how to properly clean mushrooms.
Can you add more chicken breasts or use other pieces in this wild rice casserole?
Yes you can! I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts all the time, but bone-in, skinless pieces work well here too. If you have more people coming to dinner you can simply increase the amount of chicken in the recipe. Whatever will fit into your oven-proof skillet or casserole will be fine. I love making this chicken wild rice casserole in our inexpensive enameled cast iron covered skillet featured above. Click HERE to get more information or to purchase from Amazon.
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Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces mushrooms, tough stems removed, sliced
- 1 ½ cups wild rice blend
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth (2 cups)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large ovenproof skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned on one side, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the partially cooked chicken to a plate and cover, browned side up; set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter to the now empty skillet along with the onions and celery. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook, undisturbed, until the mushrooms are well browned on one side. Stir and turn the mushrooms and continue cooking until the moisture is released and evaporated, and the mushrooms are well browned.
- Add the vegetables back to the skillet with the mushrooms along with the dry wild rice blend. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the chicken broth and white wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (NOTE - you may want add 10 minutes if using a different kind of rice blend that requires longer cooking - check the cooking directions for your variety. The rice should still be a little soupy and starting to soften)
- While the rice is cooking, make the white sauce. In a small saucepan melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, onion powder and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk, slowly, whisking to combine. Cook until the sauce is thickened.
- Once done, remove the rice from the heat. Pour the white sauce over the top of the rice and stir lightly to combine. Place the chicken in the skillet on top of the rice and push down lightly leaving the tops uncovered. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until chicken registers 160°F (for breasts) on an instant read thermometer, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the casserole to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
- Substitute chicken tenders or thighs if desired, or use skinless bone-in pieces. Bake the chicken until cooked through or 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer for breasts.
- You can also cut the chicken into smaller pieces or chunks and stir into the rice before baking. Substitute rotisserie chicken cut into bite sized pieces if desired.
- Substitute more chicken broth for the wine if desired.
- In place of the white sauce use 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup combined with a little wine, broth or milk to thin, if desired.
- I use an inexpensive Chardonnay for this recipe.
- If you feel the rice is still too chewy after 20 minutes on the stove-top, continue cooking another 5 to 10 minutes. The rice will continue to cook in the oven.
Here are a few more recipes you might also like:
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup – this delicious soup checks all the boxes for a perfect bowl of fall comfort food. It’s creamy and hearty with a nutty bite from the wild rice and a wonderful, flavor packed broth. Click HERE to get the recipe.
Earthy, hearty and seriously comforting, this Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup is just the ticket for our rainy fall days. Click HERE to get the recipe.
Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf – An easy and delicious make-ahead side dish. Loaded with a variety of mushrooms, this pilaf is deliciously filling with a nutty flavor from the wild rice blend. Click HERE to get the recipe.