Comfort food is a great way to warm you up when it’s freezing cold outside. This layered chicken casserole, which one of my Facebook friends called “Shepphard’s Pie gone crazy” is double layered and stuffed with mushrooms, herbed potatoes and two cheeses. It’s great right out of the oven, but it’s makes pretty tasty leftovers, too.
Layered Chicken Casserole
makes 6 servings
Chicken and Stock
1 Whole Chicken, 5-6 lbs, cut into large pieces
1 lg Onion, roughly chopped
2 lg Carrots, roughly chopped
2 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tbl Black Peppercorns
1 1/2 lb Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbl Skim Milk
1 tbl Butter
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 med Onion, diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
1 Red Pepper, seeded and diced
8oz Baby Portobello Mushrooms, diced
2 cloves Garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock (from above)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 cu Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 cu Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Place chicken and stock ingredients in a large pot and add water to cover by at least an inch. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 1 hour. After an hour, remove chicken pieces and strain stock. Reserve 1 cup of stock for this recipe and reserve the remainder for future use. Once chicken has cool, remove meat from bones and shred into smaller pieces. Discard skin and bones and set chicken aside.
Meanwhile, place potatoes in a pot and fill with water to cover by a few inches. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Add milk, butter and oregano and mash ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add red pepper, mushrooms and garlic and continue to sauté for an additional 5-10 minutes until mushrooms are tender and have release most of their moisture. Add cream of celery soup and the 1 cup of reserved chicken stock and stir to combine. Sauté for an additional 10-15 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your preference. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To assemble casserole, place half of the chicken in a deep 8” square casserole dish. Cover with half of the filling mixture. Add half of the potato mixture and spread evenly. Add 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Repeat all four layers again, adding a bit more cheese on top. Press mixture down a bit so that it’s even. Place casserole on a baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and let casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.