This recipe was inspired by the Pioneer Woman's Chicken casserole recipe. You can find Ree's recipe here.
In my recipe - I made everything from scratch, my process was quite a bit different as well. Homemade creamy mushroom soup, and homemade season salt. And of course it is gluten free. There were great combination flavors in this dish. Thanks Ree for the inspiration!
Season Salt Blend:
1 tsp. ground Bay Leaf
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
10 grinds of black pepper
Mix all of the spices together in a jar until well blended. This can be used as a seasoning on any meat or fish - you may want to triple the recipe.
1 cut up chicken - breasts, thighs, drumsticks (once cooked you will want 2 generous cups of shredded chicken)
water to cover the chicken well
1/2 onion, 1 large bay leaf, a couple of celery tops with leaves roughly chopped
4 slices of bacon, diced and fried crisp
2 Tblsp. butter
4-5 crimini mushrooms, diced
1 large shallot, diced
3 minced garlic cloves
3 tsp. season salt (save 1 tsp. for the cooked chicken mixed with the vegetables)
3 cups of non dairy milk - I used Soy
4-5 heaping Tblsp. Sweet Rice Flour
salt and pepper
1 pkg gluten free spaghetti, broken into three sections
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup green pepper
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
I started by making the season salt blend. Then onto the creamy mushroom/bacon soup. This is really more like a very thick sauce. If you think back to how thick canned mushroom soup is that will be the consistency you will want to achieve.
Heat up a frying pan on medium heat. Add the chopped bacon, and stir until nicely browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. I did not have a lot of bacon renderings, so I added 2 Tblsp. of butter to the pan, and turned down the heat a bit.
Add in the mushrooms, shallots and garlic, sauteing for 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are golden.
Remove with a slotted spoon to the bowl of cooked bacon. Add in the flour, and whisk 2-3 minutes. It should start to smell a bit toasted.
Pour in the milk in batches, the whole time whisking well. It may seem like it will not come together - but it will - just keep whisking and adding in the milk bit by bit. Once all of the milk has been added, keep whisking and add in 2 tsp. of season salt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You will want the sauce to be very thick - like canned soup. If necessary you can actually sprinkle in more sweet rice flour at this point - just keep whisking well. Then add in the bacon, mushroom mixture to the sauce stirring to incorporate. This will give you a good 3 cups of sauce.
The above picture was taken in different lighting than the sauce in the frying pan - but this actually looks like cream of mushroom soup!
Next: making the chicken broth:
Add the chicken pieces to a pot, with half a roughly chopped onion, a bunch of celery tops with the leaves, and a bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper, then add water to completely cover.
Put on high heat and then turn down to a strong simmer. The next step is soooo important. For the next 45 minutes you must skim the broth. It is vital to remove the impurities. Here is a picture of the yuck:
What this essentially is is boiled blood and impurities coming out of the chicken....gross! While you are skimming, have a kettle on the boil so you can continually, top up the broth while you are skimming away this yuck!
After 45 minutes you will have lovely clear chicken broth...see how clear? Remove the cooked chicken to a platter to cool. Then strain off the onion, celery and bay leaf.
Remove 2 cups of the broth and set aside. Keep the broth on minimum heat, while you prep the onion, red and green peppers.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin, and pull off the meat from the bones into a bowl. (save the bones to roast for 30 min. in a 350 oven, let cool then freeze with any other roasted chicken carcasses you might have to make stock) (I save all of my roast chicken carcasses, freezing them until I have about 4 to make a lovely rich stock)
Combine the chicken with the chopped vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and 1 more tsp. of season salt.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring the remaining broth (add water if necessary) to a boil, season well with salt. Break your gluten free pasta into three sections. Add to the boiling salted broth stirring well. Cook as per directions, except, decrease cooking time by 4 minutes. The pasta will cook in the oven as well.
Drain the pasta. Add 1/2 of the cheddar cheese to the chicken vegetable mixture, then the mushroom soup/sauce mixing well. Add the pasta to a casserole dish, then the chicken vegetable mixture. Pour in the reserved broth...you may not need all of the 2 cups. Mix well until a nice consistency is achieved, you want to see some liquid....not dry!
Cover with the remaining cheddar cheese, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Allow to rest 5 minutes before plating.