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Chicken and Dressing Casserole

Chicken and Dressing Casserole: Comfort Food at Its Best

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Chicken and Dressing Casserole is a classic comfort food dish that combines tender shredded chicken with a flavorful cornbread dressing. This casserole is perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or holiday gatherings. It’s easy to make, hearty, and packed with savory flavors that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

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Ingredients

For the Casserole:

  • 4 cups shredded chicken
  • 4 cups cornbread or other cubed dried bread
  • ⅓ cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 can cream of onion soup
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Gravy:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Prepare the Chicken:

  • If you don’t have pre-cooked shredded chicken, you can start by cooking 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in boiling water or chicken broth until fully cooked. Once cooked, shred the chicken using two forks.

2. Prepare the Cornbread:

  • You can use store-bought cornbread or make your own. If using fresh cornbread, allow it to dry out slightly to prevent the casserole from becoming too soggy.

3. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

4. Sauté the Vegetables:

  • In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped celery and onion, and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

5. Combine the Ingredients:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, cornbread or cubed dried bread, sautéed celery and onion, cream of onion soup, chicken broth, poultry seasoning, dried sage, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly combined.

6. Assemble the Casserole:

  • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, spreading it out evenly.

7. Bake the Casserole:

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the casserole is heated through.

8. Prepare the Gravy:

  • While the casserole is baking, prepare the gravy. In a medium saucepan, melt ¼ cup of unsalted butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to form a roux.
  • Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, followed by the heavy cream. Continue to whisk until the gravy is smooth and thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Serve:

  • Once the casserole is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly.
  • Serve warm, drizzled with the prepared gravy.

Cooking Notes

  • Variations: You can add other vegetables such as carrots or green beans to the casserole for added flavor and nutrition. For a different flavor profile, try using cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup instead of cream of onion soup.
  • Make-Ahead: This casserole can be assembled a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, bring it to room temperature and bake as directed.

Tips for Serving

  • Serve Chicken and Dressing Casserole with a side of green beans or a fresh garden salad for a balanced meal.
  • This dish pairs well with cranberry sauce or a side of mashed potatoes for a complete comfort food experience.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Protein-Rich: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.
  • Fiber: Using cornbread adds fiber to the dish, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use leftover turkey instead of chicken?

Yes, you can easily substitute shredded turkey for chicken in this recipe, making it a great option for using up holiday leftovers.

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2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover Chicken and Dressing Casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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3. Can I freeze this casserole?

Yes, you can freeze the assembled but unbaked casserole. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil before freezing. To bake, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

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Chicken and Dressing Casserole is a comforting and delicious dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Its combination of tender chicken, flavorful cornbread dressing, and rich gravy makes it a favorite among family and friends. Whether you’re preparing it for a weeknight dinner or a special holiday meal, this casserole is sure to be a hit. Try making it today and enjoy the warm, savory flavors of this classic comfort food!

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