Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicken casserole with porcini mushroom tortellini and a reminder of spring

This post has nothing remotely to do with our yard, but trust me, while the recipe I'm going to give you tastes excellent, it does not lend itself to photos.

In fact, I did try taking a photo, but this pic, above, will do far more for your taste buds. Or at least, your comfort level. There's an arbor! And a bird bath with flowers! Despite the piles of snow, you can almost taste spring, can't you? No? Well, let's keep going....

How about now? This is a photo of the small pond we have in the backyard. It's home to several birds, flowers and lilies when in peak season. You know, when the temperature gauge climbs over 50 degrees, by some miracle.

The water lilies get awfully large. They are temperamental when it comes to opening and closing, so you have to be quick about getting a photo. It's a delicate job.

Which is not unlike the sauce I'm about to present you with. You need to have ingredients ready, so you're not fumbling around for flour when it's ready. It's a quick business.

But the sauce really makes the dish. With the chicken and mushroom tortellini, it's comfort in a dish. Which is what we all need, with this ridiculous snow and cold. Only two months until spring! In the meantime, try this, and keep warm.

Chicken casserole with porcini mushroom tortellini 

You'll need:

3/4 stick butter
2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cracked black pepper
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk (I used plain almond milk)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup peas
1 package porcini mushroom tortellini
1 additional cup shredded cheese

All you have to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix broth in small saucepan and heat to boiling. Then add tortellini. I used a packet of fresh dried pasta, so I boiled it for about four minutes. Check the directions on yours, and subtract a few minutes off the cooking time. You'll want it al dente, so that it doesn't fall apart in the oven. Drain and reserve the broth.

Heat butter and oil in large deep skillet or Dutch oven until just starting to turn brown. Add onion and celery, and saute until soft. Sprinkle over flour, salt and pepper, and stir well. Add white wine, 1 1/2 cups of broth and milk, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mixture should thicken fairly quickly. Turn heat to low, or take pan off heat, and stir in two cups of shredded cheese. Stir to combine. If your sauce is too thick, you can add in a bit more broth.

Add in chicken, peas and tortellini, and place in buttered casserole pan. Top with additional cup of shredded cheese. 

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Enjoy with garlic toast and salad!