Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Homemade Broth makes Chicken Divine

No, this cheesy deliciousness is not something Mom would approve of. Even though there is broccoli in the dish, I'm pretty sure that if it's made invisible by a layer of caloric goodness, all of its nutritional value also is canceled out. But I did do something Mom would approve of while making Chicken Divine: I used the bones of the rotisserie chicken that I shredded to make homemade chicken broth.

Believe me, I'm really not getting all high and mighty on myself. I once went to Costco with Mom and she basically forbid me from buying frozen chicken breasts because they're too expensive compared with buying whole chickens and cutting them up yourself, which is what she does. But that's not what I do. The few times Bryan and I tried cutting up a chicken, we had to call ex-butcher Charlie or refer to a book, and we still didn't do it right. So now I just make sure to buy my frozen chicken breasts and thighs, as well as rotisserie chickens, when Mom's not around. And as a consolation (to my guilty conscience), I make broth out of the bones.

It's nothing fancy. I just cover the bones, skin and fat with water and cook it in the Crock-Pot overnight, then strain the chunks and skim the fat after it cools in the morning. But compared with store-bought broth, the flavor is amazing. Somehow, Mom's is about a billion times better. It's probably because she uses a thermal cooking pot, which I would recommend to anybody who makes soup more than once a week. But dang, are they hard to find in America.

Anyhoo, I'm still going to share the recipe for Chicken Divine, which I got from Heather years ago and have made for countless people since then. It's a crowd-pleaser, so enjoy!

Chicken Divine
1-1/2 c. uncooked jasmine rice
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (or about 4 c. shredded rotisserie chicken meat)
2 broccoli heads, cut in bite-size pieces
Family-size can of cream of chicken soup
1 c. mayo
1-2 T. curry powder
1-2 T. lemon juice
2 c. cheddar cheese
1/4 c. bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook rice according to package directions. Spray 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray, then layer with rice. Cover with shredded chicken, then broccoli.

Mix chicken soup, mayo, curry powder and lemon juice, then pour on top of casserole. Top with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. Cook for 35 minutes, or until bubbly and top is brown.

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