Being a self confessed cooking and food addict does not mean that I am completely immune to those days when you just don’t know what to cook for dinner or simply, and possibly more honestly in my case, just can’t be bothered trying to create something delicious. Yes, it was one of those days! So what was I to do. G isn’t the kind of person who expects dinner on the table when he gets home. Don’t get me wrong, I know he loves eating good food but if I told him we were ordering take away he would be quite happy because it would be a bit of a treat for us. Not wanting to delve into the world of take away food, I racked my brain for something simple for me to cook using the ingredients I had in the pantry that tasted good and was something I hadn’t made for G before. Not a big ask at all really!!! Then I remembered something that I saw when I was making the bbq chicken casserole  from my original recipe book. It met every requirement on my list. So without further ado, the winner is………
creamy chicken casserole (recipe by Fiona from Food 4 Thought)
Olive oil, for shallow frying
750g skinless chicken breast fillets
1 onion, finely diced
3 rashers of bacon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup medium/dry sherry
1 x 420g tin of cream of chicken soup
½ cup thick cream
salt and pepper, to taste
bread, for croutons
2 Tbls butter, melted
Preheat oven to 180°C and place casserole dish or oven proof pan over a medium heat.
Pour 2 Tbsp of oil into pan, slice chicken fillets into 1cm thick slices. Add chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion and cook until translucent and slightly golden, about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove the rind from the bacon and cut into 1cm cubes. Add to the pan along with the garlic and cook for further 3 – 4 minutes, stirring to avoid catching on case of the pan.
Deglaze the pan by adding the sherry and allowing it to come to the boil. Add chicken back to the pan along with all other ingredients except the bread. Mix well to combine. If there is not enough sauce add a little hot water.
Cut enough bread into 2cm cubes to cover the top of the dish. Brush bread with melted butter to assist browning. Bake in oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling at the sides and the bread is slightly golden and crisp.
My tips: *If you do not want to add the bread, serve this with pastry disks (like I did) or you can even use it as a sauce for some fresh pasta. *If the sauce appears a little dry you can add water or stock if you prefer. *Add any vegetables that you like to this dish. *Don’t try and use low fat cream as it can curdle when heat is applied. *My mum read this blog and told me that she used to also change the soup that she used and that would change the flavour completely. She gave me the example of cream of mushroom soup and adding fresh mushrooms. You can make this whatever you want to.
ease: 10/10. This is a quick and easy mid week meal. To make it even easier, buy a roast chicken on the way home from work and use the meat in place of the chicken fillets. There is no need to cook the chicken, just add it to the sauce before topping the dish with the bread.
prep time: 15mins.
cooking time: 20mins.
taste: 9/10. This dish has a complexity that it almost doesn’t deserve given the ease and limited time it takes to create. The sherry is the key in providing such depth. Both G and I devoured this in what seemed to be minutes.
would I make it again: In a heartbeat – I think this will become a regular addition to my winter repertoire, especially considering the diverse ways in which it can be served.