This recipe works best if the rice and sauce are both very warm when the casserole is assembled. If they are cold, too much oven time is required and the resulting dish will be dry with over cooked broccoli.
For the rice:
1 cup boiling water
1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/8 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup converted brown rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)
For the casserole:
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
For the sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 Tbsp sherry wine
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. For the rice:
3. Combine the boiling water and porcini mushrooms. Let stand for 20 minutes. Drain through a sieve over a bowl or glass measuring cup, reserving the soaking liquid. Add enough water to the reserved liquid to measure 1 cup. Finely chop the mushrooms.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the mushrooms, their liquid, and 1/2 cup of dry rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed.
5. Meanwhile, for the casserole:
6. Place the broccoli in a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave one minute, stir, and microwave one minute more. Do not over cook. Immediately rinse the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and chill in the refrigerator.
7. In a small bowl or cup, combine the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
8. In a medium frying pan, sauté mushrooms in olive oil and butter until tender. season with half of the salt mixture.
9. Toss the remaining salt mixture together with the chicken. Add the seasoned chicken to the skillet with the mushrooms. Cover and keep warm.
10. As the mushrooms are cooking, make the sauce.
11. In a small saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to eliminate the taste of raw flour. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, sherry and cream or half and half, until smooth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and stir until the sauce is the consistency you desire. Add just a dash of nutmeg. Add 3/4 of the cheese and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
12. To assemble:
13. In a greased 9″ baking dish, evenly spread the rice and layer on the chicken and mushroom mixture and broccoli. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil. Make several slits in the aluminum foil to allow the steam to escape.
14. Bake in the oven 15 minutes, then uncover for another 5-10 minutes or until hot.