In my mind, I planned to make a baked pasta casserole, but by the time I got home, it was already 4.30pm. Thankfully, because this recipe, though long as I actually had to poach a chicken, was really easy. In fact, I am really pleased with the poached chicken. It was tender and moist and I am definitely going to be cooking this way a lot more from now.
Normally, I would cheat by buying a roasted chicken from CS or another supermarket. The thing is though, to make the same portions as I did today, I would have had to buy an extra large chicken which would cost me around $12.50. In addition, roasted chicken can become a bit dry (especially the chicken breasts). My chicken from the local supermarket cost about $7 and by poaching it, it remained moist throughout. And I have the added bonus of a chicken stock which I can use to cook other dishes!
Having said that, when I am really busy, I would still buy a roast chook from the supermarket. At the end of the day, partially home-cooked is still better than getting a take-away, as far as I am concerned!!
So, today I am trying out a recipe by Ree from The Pioneer Woman. I made adjustments to parts of the recipe to suit my taste, but the basics remained the same.
In a big pot, I placed a chicken that had been cleaned. I added an onion that had been sliced into two parts (no need to remove the skin) as well as about 7 cloves of garlic that had been smashed (also no need to remove the skin) and a sprig or two of rosemary. I simmered this for about 40 minutes.
At the end of 40 minutes, you should have an aromatic broth and a chicken that is completely cooked through. I threw away the onion, garlic and rosemary and placed the chicken in a bowl to cool. Once the chicken was cooled, I removed the skin and bones and shredded the meat. This was set aside.
I diced half an onion and sliced the mushrooms. Since I am the only one at home who likes olives, I simply omitted them.
In a large skillet, I added some butter and olive oil. I sauteed the onions until they became soft and slightly translucent. I added the minced garlic, stirred for about 30 seconds, then the mushrooms were added.
Once the mushrooms had softened a little, I added the white wine (or water/ stock, if you do not want to add wine) and continued cooking the mushrooms until almost all the water had evaporated. This was then set aside.
I brought the broth back to boil and cooked the broken spaghetti for 10 minutes (3 minutes less than the time stated on the pack). Once cooked, I drained the spaghetti (reserving the stock) and set it aside.
Now for the fun part. In a large skillet, I added butter. Once the butter had melted, I added the flour. With a hand whisk, I whisked the flour to allow the flour to cook through.
I added the stock, then the milk, all the while whisking.
And the wine, and salt and pepper.
The sauce was left cooking, and will eventually thicken. Once that happened, I turned off the heat and added the cheese. I kept stirring until the cheese had melted.
And the mushroom and chicken were added to the sauce.
And finally, the spaghetti.
Everything was placed in a 9x13-inch casserole dish, and Parmesan cheese was sprinkled on top.
And then the casserole was baked until the top turned a delicious shade of golden brown.
I scattered some chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley on my spaghetti casserole. You can serve it with a salad or warm crusty chunks of garlic bread. Or just eat it as it is.
And secretly wish you didn't have to share the rest of the casserole.
Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole (Serves 8)
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
For the broth and shredded chicken
1 whole chicken
6-7 cloves garlic
1-2 sprigs rosemary
For the sauce
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
400g button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine - I used Chardonnay
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups chicken broth (reserved From Chicken Or Canned)
1-1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup (additional) dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole black olives, chopped - I omitted this
1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
Extra cheese, for sprinkling
Place chicken with onion, garlic and rosemary in a pot of water and boil on medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool slightly. Keep broth in pot.
Melt 30g butter in a large skillet. Cook onions until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Throw in mushrooms, add 1/4 cup white wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until liquid has totally evaporated. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Set aside.
Bring broth to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds (shorter pieces). Add spaghetti pieces to boiling broth and cook. Drain when al dente. Remove meat from bones and shred the chicken.
Return large skillet to medium-low heat. Add 80g butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to combine. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups broth and whisk to combine. Pour in milk, additional 1/4 cup wine, salt and pepper to taste, then cook and bubble until thick. Turn off heat, add Parmesan cheese, and stir.
Add mushrooms, chicken, and chopped olives. Stir to combine and check seasonings. Add cooked spaghetti and stir.
Turn into a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Bake at 170C for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salad and warm, crusty bread.
I am submitting this recipe for Cook like a Star hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake