Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Such a savory and delicious way to enjoy wild rice in a meal! This casserole is a great option to add to your week-night dinner rotation.

A few weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of a package sent to me by my very good friend Kendis. I was insanely excited to find two plastic bags stuffed full of hand-picked wild rice inside! Her husband hand-picked it, you guys! Isn't that the best? And it was so very nice of them to part with a portion of their harvest. I will not let a single kernel go to waste, I promise!

I already have a wild rice soup that I love, so I pondered turning that recipe into a casserole. Then I found this on good ol' Pinterest (source: Picky Palate) and basically began drooling all over myself. It was fabulous. I liked it even better as left-overs, and they did not last long. Dan and I ate this entire pan up in no time.

(recipe adapted from: picky-palate.com)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a Dutch oven (or heavy saucepan or skillet), heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

Add:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 stalks of celery, sliced

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.

Add:

Meat from 1 Rotisserie chicken (shredded) or 4 chicken breast halves (cooked and shredded)

2 cups prepared wild rice

2 cups prepared brown rice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix well and remove from heat.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. 

Whisk in:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Gradually add 2 cups of chicken broth, whisking constantly. Whisk until it becomes thick and is just barely boiling. This takes around 7-10 minutes.

Add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.

Add the cheese sauce to the chicken-rice mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Top with 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, depending on how cheesy you want to get!

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve gooey and warm!

Thank you again for the delicious rice, my good friends from the north! 

Here are a few other casseroles you will not be able to resist: Tater Tot Hotdish, Meatball Sub Casserole, Chicken Pot Pie Casserole