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Good morning everyone.
Sunday Gravy is back in it’s regular time slot!
I thought we would approach things a little bit differently today. Yes, we still will have our usual amount of dick jokes and frivolity but at the same time we will be addressing a difficult issue as well as setting the record straight on one of my least favorite food terms:
You can’t watch more than 60 seconds of any food travel show without encountering this term and hoo-boy does it fucking sit wrong with me.
Any episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives will feature no less than 57 utterances of the term. Usually something like “It’s jest comfirt feud.” As if this gives license for obese people to consume vast piles of fat and calories guilt free.
That is incorrect folks!
While in a perfect world nobody would have to deal with death or injury, real life just fucking happens.
My most recent funeral was a couple of years back after I lost my Auntie. I took a trip to Hill Country in Texas for the funeral and besides being hotter than shit, it was also remote and pretty goddamn challenging to find. That side of the family is good church going folks unlike my heathen-ass side of the family. So the funeral service and reception was held in a church.
This was the first church I had been to in decades and I ain’t lying about waiting for the lightning strikes.
You folks most of all should know that.
The reception was amazing – apart from the fact that there wasn’t any goddamn alcohol. They had vats of fried chicken and homemade rolls, and desserts and this insane cream corn. Motherfucker that shit was good.
In my opinion, THAT is comfort food.
It’s not to be confused with nostalgia, it doesn’t mean your favorite pizza. No. It’s food that is intended to give comfort.
I’m taking “comfort food” back!
I got one last story for you. Not an easy one though.
When I was nine I lost my little brother to brain cancer. He was two.
Any ideas when my total and absolute faith in God was demolished?
In addition to being traumatizing as fuck, no shit my brothers and I still have lingering psychological issues, it had a really weird effect on my friends and classmates.
Nobody knew how to talk to me. I swear it was like being a new kid in class or something. For most of the following school year the other kids basically avoided interacting with me rather than discussing the very large elephant in the room. It was a small town and believe me EVERYBODY in town was aware.
They eventually came around but it was still pretty damn strange being shunned by my friends because my little brother died.
Assholes! Show some goddamn compassion!
The reason for the banner image should be apparent now.
The entire day after the funeral there was a fucking processional of neighbors bringing us food.
There were SOOOO many fucking casseroles. This was 1970 so it was casserole central back then. There were hams, and plates of cookies and cakes and pies, and mounds of potatoes, and yes, plenty of fried chicken and to be honest, as a kid I switched pretty quickly from mourning to “Goddamn! I want some of that ham!” Food has that power.
Roundabout way of saying that I can’t ever make a casserole without some recessive memories.
I’m actually pretty OK now.
That’s why sweet, sweet alcohol was invented.
Let’s do a casserole shall we!
We’ve dabbled with a casserole or two in the past.
I think you can call chicken pot pie a casserole. It is a one dish meal after all.
And you can bet your sweet ASS that you can include Hot Dish under the casserole heading.
Today’s dish is similar in a way to the hot dish recipe in that it does have some store bought shit and can be slapped together pretty quickly. It too is indeed a one dish meal.
Chicken and Wild Rice casserole.
Just for the record there are over 7,700,000 Google results for chicken and wild rice casserole. This is a biggie in the casserole world. There are also about 7 million recipes for it. You can freelance the FUCK out of this to fit your own tastes.
Here’s what I did.
You’re going to need some store bought shit.
That’s a box of Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice. Fun fact! This is the very first time I’ve used an Uncle Ben’s product.
It cooked just like rice!
1 box of Stove Top chicken flavor dressing.
1 can of cream of chicken soup.
2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces. NOTE: These won’t need to be precooked. Use them raw here.
Some essence to taste – or use your seasonings of choice. Hell, some salt, pepper and paprika would do the trick.
1 medium onion chopped fairly fine.
4 cloves of garlic minced.
1 8-oz container of fresh mushrooms.
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme.
3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
2 cups of cheese. Your call on type. I used a mix of sharp cheddar and jack cheese.
1/2 cup of melted butter.
Let’s start the party by cooking the rice per it’s instructions.
Next we will be sauteing the mushrooms, onion and garlic.
Get them veggies chopped up and grab a saute pan. Add the olive oil to the pan and over a medium heat dump in the mushrooms and onion.
Notice how crowded that pan is at first? Don’t worry, the water will release from the mushrooms after a few minutes and you will have some more room in the pan.
These will cook for about 7-8 minutes. Season with some salt, pepper and the dried thyme. Lastly, add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until the garlic becomes fragrant and sexy smelling. Remove from heat.
A quick aside, the recipe I was following did not have the mushroom, onion and garlic as part of the dish. That recipe was seriously easy. My thoughts? Add some fucking flavor whenever you can. And this bastard was practically screaming for the mushrooms, onion and garlic.
Before we assemble let’s do ourselves a favor and use one of them cheap ass disposable aluminum pans for this dish. Like this.
I have used these fuckers many, many times in the past. Any time you want to save on clean up or if you are making something that has potential to stick to a real baking dish, use one of these things instead. PLEASE NOTE: These things are flimsy as FUCK so always be sure to cook on a baking sheet that is large enough to both accommodate the size of the pan and also durable enough that your casserole doesn’t grace your fucking shoe tops.
Preheat your oven to 325
Give the pan a little lube. Get yourself in casserole throwback mode here and spray it with some non-stick spray.
Oh fuck yes I did.
Time for assembly!
First thing we are going to do is add in the cooked rice.
Next layer will be the sauteed mushrooms, onion and garlic topped with your cheese.
The chicken prep for this is too damn easy. Take your cubed chicken and season with the essence or your flavor profile seasoning of choice.
Despite this seeming weird as all Hell and an invitation to e-coli we are simply going to take the seasoned raw chicken and place it directly on top of the veggie-rice-cheese stuff as the next layer.
Have a little trust, huh?
Next layer will be the cream of chicken soup. Dump the soup in a small bowl, add in about 1/3 of a can worth of water and mix to combine.
Pour that nasty looking neon-yellow shit directly on top for the next layer.
Now it’s quite sexy, yes?
Trust me, most casseroles aren’t made for their appearance. They ain’t gonna be gracing the cover of Food and Wine magazine anytime soon.
Finally, get another bowl out and dump in the contents of the box of dressing along with the seasoning packet that comes with the dressing. Mix to combine then take the 1/2 stick of melted butter and pour that all over the dressing and mix together.
Jesus, I just gave myself the willies typing that out.
It ain’t health food folks.
Now, you guessed it, add the buttered dressing mix right on type of the whole shebang!
Finally we’re ready to cook. Put this beast into the 325 degree preheated oven and this is going to cook for a full hour.
See? Now the raw chicken thing isn’t so damn scary is it?
It shouldn’t be. That chicken will be cooked perfectly.
When finished you will need two pot holders or heat resistant cooking gloves to remove the casserole from the oven. This fucker is heavy!
There you go!
As you might expect this molten assemblage of starches, cheese and proteins is going to need to cool the fuck down!
About 15 minutes or so.
Just wait for fifteen goddamn minutes alright? This fucker will melt your fillings AND the roof of your fucking mouth if you get after it too soon.
And we’re finished here!
Now you’re all set to take some comfort to the neighbors to help console them after Little Timmy fell down the well.
Why didn’t that asshole “Lassie” do something?
How did it taste?
Take a look for yourself.
Holy fucking shitballs was this fucker tasty. Goddamn!
That’s the thing about casseroles, they can be looked down on as being too quick and easy, as being part of lower middle-class culture or just too old school to be considered edible but you know what?
Fuck those who would say that. This is absolutely worth making. The rice is savory, the mushrooms, onion and garlic are essential to liven up the party.
Why no mushroom, onion, garlic Original Recipe Lady? This dish BEGS for that shit.
The chicken is perfectly cooked and the seasoning plays precisely right with everything else.
You know what the “kicker” is though?
Those goddamn buttered dressing bits..
So. Fucking. Good.
It all works. It’s simple and satisfying. It’s also perfect for a pot luck or a social gathering.
The next time someone you know suffers injury, illness or tragedy be a good friend, family member or neighbor and bring them some Real. Fucking. Comfort.
Thanks for reading folks.
Have a great Sunday.