Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

A classic potluck dish, this casserole uses the same basic elements as chicken salad, but it is baked and just delicious! I like to include the chopped boiled eggs, but those can be omitted if you prefer. Always a favorite!
A classic potluck dish, this casserole uses the same basic elements as chicken salad, but it is baked and just delicious! I like to include the chopped boiled eggs, but those can be omitted if you prefer. Always a favorite!

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

Called Hot Chicken Salad because it contains many of the typical elements of a cold chicken salad, but it's baked in a casserole form. Probably one of the Original Church Lady Casserole Recipes from way back, and published in most every southern community cookbook, it still finds its way not only at church socials, but reunions, potlucks, as a funeral dish, or at any number of other gatherings.
 
As always, ingredients do vary a bit among us Southern cooks with this dish, and some folks exclude the boiled eggs, though I think that they are fitting and taste good, so I do use them.  You can also use a wide variety of toppings, including some additional shredded cheese, alone or with some soft or panko bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or even potato chips which were the most traditional.

Some do add the toppings at the beginning of the cooking process. I personally prefer to heat the casserole through first before applying the toppings and then return it to the oven for the topping to lightly brown. Either way works fine.

Remember, the next time that you pick up a rotisserie chicken from the deli, grab two, or the next time that you roast a chicken at home, go ahead and cook two. Set the second chicken aside to cool, and then put up the meat in 2 to 3 cup portions in your freezer. That's what I do!

This is one of those mix and dump casseroles too - simple and super easy!

Cook 3 slices of bacon to crisp, then chop. In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, soup, bacon and ranch dressing mix, if using; blend well. Stir in the cheddar cheese, lemon pepper, thyme and rosemary. Add the chicken, eggs, celery, onion, green onion and almonds; mix. Pretty much looks like good ole chicken salad doesn't it?


Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt only as needed, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly and lightly browned.


Remove from oven, add topping, and bake an additional 5 minutes. You can also add additional cheese before topping with crushed crackers, potato chips or bread crumbs.


Check out more of my favorite casseroles on Pinterest!



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Yum

Recipe: Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tablespoon loose dry ranch dressing mix, optional
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • Pinch dried thyme and rosemary, crushed 
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 4 eggs, boiled and chopped, optional
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 green onion, sliced 
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • Topping (panko, crackers, potato chips - see suggestions below)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Prepare bacon and chop. In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, soup, bacon and ranch dressing mix, if using; blend well. Stir in the cheddar cheese, lemon pepper, thyme and rosemary. Add the chicken, eggs, celery, onion, green onion and almonds; mix. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt only as needed, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, add desired topping, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Can also add toppings at the beginning cooking time if desired.

Cook's Notes: One packet of dry ranch dressing mix is equal to about 3 tablespoons, so you won't need a full packet. Vary the casserole toppings by using additional shredded cheese on top, alone or with one of these toppings: 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs, dry bread crumbs, a sleeve of crushed saltines or Ritz crackers mixed with 1 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted, or simply slice cold butter thinly and scatter over the top; or add 1-1/2 cups of crushed plain or kettle style potato chips to the top, a ruffled style potato chips being the most traditional topping.

For Cooked Chicken: If starting with raw chicken, I usually will just poach it in water or chicken broth. Bring about 2-1/2 cups of water or chicken broth to a boil. Add the chicken breasts (or whatever pieces you are using) to the stock, bring back up to a boil, cover, reduce to low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. If you're using the chicken in a dish that calls for chicken broth or water, reserve the broth to use in that. Once chicken has cooled enough to handle, chop or shred as needed.

Variations: Reduced fat products okay to use but be aware that they are thinner. Include some finely chopped red or green bell pepper, or chopped pimentos for color, if desired. Substitute sour cream, Greek yogurt or a combination of the two, for part of the mayonnaise. Can also substitute a cup of sour cream for the cream soup if you like. For casseroles, I like to add just a bit of fresh lemon juice tossed with the chicken to brighten the flavor. Just substitute black pepper in place of the lemon pepper; a single wedge of lemon will do it.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on March 5, 2011

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