Casseroles seem to have fallen out of fashion in recent years, but I am still a fan. When I was growing up, my mom often made a Chicken Broccoli casserole when company came over. It was divine.
Craving casserole recently made my thoughts turn to that lovely mixture of chicken, broccoli, cream of chicken soup, mayo, and parmesan. I decided to try a healthier version, since I try to avoid processed foods when I can.
Here is the result. It was delicious, if a little soupy. I think next time I might use less liquid to make the sauce, in the hopes that it will be a bit thicker. Other thoughts on thickening the sauce? Please comment.
Better Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
- 1 whole chicken breast (2 halves), cooked and cut into cubes*
- 1 bunch broccoli, blanched or steamed and chopped (you just want it semi cooked so that it will get nice and mushy in the finished casserole. If you like your broccoli crisp-tender, just add it to the casserole raw, without steaming or blanching it)
- 2 T flour
- 2 T butter
- 1.5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup 2% milk (use whatever kind you have, though the higher the fat content, the richer the sauce will be)
- 1/4 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar (You can use any cheese, but use something with a pretty strong flavor, so you can use less and still have that satisfying cheesy taste)
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour when melted and cook stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Don’t let the flour brown. Slowly whisk in your broth and milk and simmer until thickened, around 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Combine this sauce, the chicken, and the broccoli in a 9X9 casserole dish and mix well. Sprinkle over the cheese, and bake in a 375 oven for about 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
*I like to get whole skin-on boneless breasts from North Market Poultry and Game, and roast them rubbed with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 375 for 20 – 25 minutes, then remove the skin and cube them.