Monday, January 19, 2015

Garlic Chicken with Kale & Wild Rice Casserole

My main focus of winter cooking tends to revolve around meals that will warm us up and make us forget how bitterly cold it is outside, even if that feeling is fleeting and only lasts through dinner.  In the summer my meal planning is simple and often non-existent since we mostly feast on burgers or anything we can throw on the grill, In the winter it's soup or chili, casseroles or curry dishes, etc.

One thing that is great about winter cooking is that most recipes tend to last for at least a few meals. That works out great for me because most evenings after a long day of work, I don't feel like doing much other than curling up under a blanket and watching TV...especially when it's pitch dark out at 5 pm.  Talk about depressing.  But at least I know this season is not forever...although in Wisconsin it certainly feels like it.

You could certainly make these recipes separate since they are so good just on their own, or you could simply pair the Garlic Chicken with plain rice if that's easier for you.  However, I found these two really compliment each other together.  If you're looking for a meal that will warm you up and last your family a couple days at least - then I recommend giving this a whirl.

Garlic Chicken with Kale & Wild Rice Casserole
Serves 4-6 (and leftovers to spare!)

For the chicken: 

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken thighs (I used boneless skinless but I think that bone-in/skin on thighs would be delicious too!)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled, cloves separated
1 cup white wine (any wine that you like, since there will be most of the bottle leftover ;))
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary or teaspoon or so dried

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Cooking over medium heat, brown the chicken on both sides; about 4 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Add garlic cloves to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden; about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic.  

Carefully add wine to the skillet.  Stir in parsley and add rosemary.  Transfer chicken back to skillet.
Cover and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, turning the chicken over half way through cooking. Add ¼-cup more wine if it looks too dry when you go to turn over the chicken.

Remove from heat.  Transfer chicken to serving dish and spoon the garlic sauce over the chicken.  Serve.
Kale & Wild Rice Casserole

2 large bunches of Kale, leaves torn
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2-3 teaspoons thyme (dried – or more if using fresh)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream, canned coconut milk (or just more whole milk)
4 cups cooked wild rice (I used a rice cooker to make this ahead.  Can even be done a day before)
1 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet onions, sliced into thin rings
Salt and pepper

Grease a 2-3 quart casserole dish. Set aside.

Heat a very large skillet (the largest you have!) over medium-high heat. Add all of the torn kale to the skillet and add 1 cup of water. Cover the skillet and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the kale is wilted. Once the kale is wilted and all of the water has been absorbed, remove the kale from the skillet and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the skillet is hot, sprinkle in the mushrooms in a single layer. Don't stir them! Let them sizzle until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 minutes. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Now add the butter to the skillet and cook until the butter begins to brown. Once the butter is browned reduce the heat and add the garlic, thyme and nutmeg and cook for about 10 seconds. Now add the kale back to the skillet with the mushrooms, garlic and spices and toss well.

Sprinkle the flour over the kale and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes or until there is a thick sauce. Add the extra milk or cream and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked wild rice. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Now wipe the skillet and add the olive oil, cook over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Continue to cook until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle half the cheese over the casserole and then add the onions and the remaining cheese. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the onions are crispy. Serve!

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest

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