Monday, October 29, 2012

Corn Casserole with Chicken and Broccoli

Woohoo!  Another company lunch with too much chicken left over.  I was able to take home about a pound's worth of meat and as much again of bone.  Truth to tell, I am more interested in the bones than the meat at this point, since I am always looking for scraps for stock.  I also scored about 1-1/2 onions, already sliced up, also for stock.  I will have to get busy this weekend.

What to do with the meat?  I thought about making another batch of the chili chicken sauce I made last time I brought the chicken home.  That was delicious served over polenta.  The only problem is that I already had planned to make my corn casserole, and that is so close to polenta that it didn't make sense to have both at the same time.

I didn't see any reason why I couldn't add the chicken to the corn casserole, though, in addition to the baby broccoli I was already planning to add.  I thought it might come close to a cheesy chicken broccoli casserole my sister used to make, only healthier without the canned cream of mushroom and cream of celery soup that go into that recipe.

I was a little worried that it might be too many ingredients for the base cornmeal, egg, butter and yogurt mixture to handle without getting too dry, but I added a little white wine and that seemed to do the trick.

One other change I made - instead of using the can of mild chopped green chilies that usually goes into my corn casserole, I used a pickled jalapeno (and yes, I did pickle it myself - more on that later).  I found the jalapenos at the Leaning Shed Farm stall at the Green Market, and they are super hot.  So hot that I added a dollop of yogurt to help soothe my palate.  It was perfect.

Because I added almost twice as much volume to the casserole with the chicken and broccoli, I baked it in an 8 x 11" dish instead of the 1.5-quart round dish I usually use.  It was a smart decision.

Adding the chicken and broccoli takes this from a great side dish to a satisfactory meal in itself.  It's a great way to use up leftover chicken.  And it is just as easy to make as the meatless version.

Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Approximately 1 lb broccoli, separted, stems thinly sliced and tops cut into small florets
1-2 cups diced cooked chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth, or water
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cup corn kernels, divided
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cornmeal
4-oz can chopped green chilies or 1 pickled jalapeno, chopped
1 cup cheese, diced or grated
1-1/4 tsp salt
Additional yogurt for garnish

Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and the broccoli stems and cook until the stems are tender, another 5 minutes.  Add the chicken and broccoli florets and season to taste with the salt and pepper.  Add the wine and the broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low heat covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool while you put together the rest of the dish.

Puree the butter, 1 cup of the corn, and the eggs in a blender or food processor.  Pour into a bowl and add the yogurt, cornmeal, chilies, cheese, salt and the rest of the corn and stir together.  Fold in the cooled chicken and broccoli mixture.

Pour into a buttered 9 x 12" baking dish.  Bake at 350 deg. F. for about 40 minutes, until the top has set and has just started to brown.

Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt or crema fresca, if desired.


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