15 November 2010

Family recipe Monday: fall poultry casseroles

Chicken casserole

We are digging like maniacs through the Simple Gifts family recipe files in preparation for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure yet what we'll be cooking, or where. When you work on a college campus, you start gathering in the Thanksgiving orphans about now and planning a family-style celebration for everyone who doesn't have time to get home and back. The kitchen and dinner house may not be decided until the last minute and may not even be the same house. I'll post the menu as it develops with everyone's contributions. The best dinners are always the ones that reflect everyone's culture and heritage from all points of the map.

In the meantime, here are some casserole recipes from the older West Texas girls. These are also spectacular with leftover turkey, which is why I am posting them now.

Chicken casserole

7 chicken breasts
Salt to taste
Poultry seasoning to taste
Onion pieces
Celery pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stick butter
1 10-oz can mushroom soup
1 10-oz can chicken soup
1 5-oz can evaporated milk
½ lb. sharp cheese, grated
½ tsp. Tabasco sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. MSG
2 T chopped pimientos
2 cans asparagus tips
1 8-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
½ cup slivered almonds

Boil chicken in water seasoned with salt, poultry seasoning, onion and celery pieces. Sauté chopped onion in butter, and add remaining ingredients (except asparagus, mushrooms, chicken and almonds). Meanwhile, cool chicken. Bone and cut in bite-sized pieces. In a casserole, layer chicken, asparagus, and sauce. Repeat layers, ending with sauce. Top with almonds. Bake at 350* F for 45-60 minutes. Serves 8-10.
--Audrey Smith

Note:  As I have mentioned before, I am presenting the recipes as written, without edits. I don't want to rewrite history, and the ingredients and methods of these recipes (condensed soups, pimientos, etc.) lock them firmly into their time and place. That being said, I think you can safely skip the MSG if you suspect that anyone is sensitive or allergic to it. You can (and I would) also substitute fresh mushrooms and asparagus for canned ones. This is a big recipe, so you can observe the two-casserole rule. In fact, you should. There are casserole sharing laws, you know.

There are dozens of versions of this Texas favorite; I went with the one from Aunt Melba. I'm with her on the corn tortilla question--it makes a better casserole base to have several layers. Dipping the tortillas in warm sauce or stock is essential: don't skip this step, especially if the tortillas have been refrigerated.

King Ranch casserole

1 large fryer
Corn tortillas
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 T chili powder
¾ lb. grated cheese

Boil chicken. Bone and cut in bite-sized pieces. Dip tortillas in chicken stock for a second and line bottom and sides of oiled casserole dish. Simmer onions and pepper in stock until tender. Mix with soups, tomatoes and chili powder. Put layer of chicken on tortillas and add layer of soup mixture. Put another layer of tortillas, chicken and rest of soup mixture. Top with cheese. Bake about 45 minutes at 350* F.

Melba’s note: I use several layers instead of 2 because we like the tortillas.
--Melba Campbell Johnson

Here is another one from Melba: simple but elegant.

Melba’s chicken and rice
Brown chicken in ½ to ¾ stick oleo. Add 1 cup rice, 2 ½ cups water, 1 package onion soup mix, salt and pepper. Mushroom soup may be added. Place chicken on top of rice and cook in oven 350* F for one hour.
--Melba Campbell Johnson

Happy Monday. What are you thankful for this year?

1 comment:

Lance said...

I am thankful for the wonderful friends I have encountered since I migrated West. I am especially thankful for you for preserving and sharing these tidbits. You rock!