Kitchen Garden Seeds

Comforting Corny Chicken Casserole
Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms * John Scheepers
John Scheepers
Bantam, CT

This is one of those family dinner recipes that we make when we all need comfort food and we don't want anyone slaving in the kitchen right before dinner: perfect leading up to the holidays. It is a bit of a 1950's throwback (not that there is anything wrong with that) since it includes condensed canned soup. But I suppose we are allowed to make something like this every once in a while, particularly when it is such a feel- and taste-good concoction. It is a wonderful casserole to bring to a friend's home or for a family get together when you don't know exactly how many people are coming. A hug in every bite.
Comforting Corny Chicken Casserole
  • 4 ears Corn (2 cups of Corn kernels)
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3 Shallots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups baby Spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 head of Broccoli
  • 5 cups chunk-cut cooked chicken
  • 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers or panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Boil Corn on cobs for 5 minutes and dip in ice bath. Remove the Corn kernels from the cobs with as much of the sweet Corn milk as you can get: scrape the Corn cobs with a flat knife edge after removing the kernels. Set aside the Corn in a large bowl. Cut the Garlic into razor-thin slices. Finely chop the Shallots. Sauté the mushrooms, Garlic and Shallots in the butter until just cooked. Add to the Corn bowl. In the same skillet, sauté the baby Spinach leaves (or scissor-cut mature Spinach leaves, stems removed) in butter. Add to the Corn bowl. Lightly steam the Broccoli, and cut the florets into bite-size pieces. Add to the Corn bowl. Add the chopped chicken into the Corn bowl. Toss all of the vegetables and chicken to combine. Set aside.

    In a huge bowl, whisk to combine the cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and white wine. Stir in the grated Cheddar cheese. Season with curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the vegetable-chicken mixture.

    Lightly grease a huge rectangular baking dish (like a big lasagne pan) and fill it with the corn-chicken mixture. Combine the crushed Ritz crackers and grated Parmesan and drizzle in the melted butter, fork-stirring to combine. Evenly top the chicken mixture with the crumb topping. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes. Serve over egg noodles with cranberry jelly. (Before baking, the Comforting Corny Chicken Gloop can be frozen in its baking dish or in airtight freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw before baking.) Serves a lot.