Well, as fifi mentioned in her last post, Autumn is right upon our doorstep, and with it comes crisp air, the rich, musty scent of Autumn leaves, and warming food that sticks to your ribs. Count me in!

Being an American, cold-weather food for me will always have to include casseroles, and this is just one of many that I like to foist upon Fi. This one’s a bit different though; a result of a lot of tinkering with combinations, that owes a lot of its influences to Asian flavours, and on paper, doesn’t look like it should work. Trust me, it totally does, and you won’t be sorry to try it. Other Americans may be tempted to cover this with cheese (let’s be honest, it’s the go-to topper for casseroles) but, while tasty, it doesn’t need it at all. This manages to be tasty and fulfilling without needing a lot of heavy cream and the like. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Without further ado, then… time to get cooking!


Chicken, Mushroom & Broccoli Rice Bake
Serves 4
A delicious rice bake that is perfect for when the weather starts to turn.
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  1. Stuff you’ll need…
  2. 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  3. 2 medium leeks (one large white/yellow onion works too)
  4. 4-5 large portobello mushrooms
  5. 2 chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs (boneless and skinless all around)
  6. 1 small bottle (20 cl/1 cup) white wine – Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc both really suit this dish.
  7. 150 ml double (heavy) cream
  8. 1/2-1 tsp ketjap manis (or use dark soy sauce and add 1/2 tsp molasses or treacle, and mix well)
  9. 1/2-3/4 tsp Knorr chicken powder (optional, you can crush and fluff a chicken stock cube if you can’t find Chicken Powder)
  10. couple of dashes of Maggi liquid seasoning (optional)
  11. 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  12. salt and pepper to season
  13. 1/2-1 tsp Tarragon (dry or fresh, but remember that fresh will be much more strongly flavoured)
  14. oil or butter for cooking
  15. 1.5 cups of uncooked rice (long grain or Thai jasmine rice both work well, 2:1 ratio water:rice when cooking)
  16. Other stuff you’ll need…
  17. Wok or large frying pan
  18. Saucepan
  19. Shallow casserole dish or high sided baking tray
  20. Rice cooker (Cooks rice perfect every time. If you don’t have one, you can cook it in a covered saucepan on stove top).
  1. First things first, get your rice on. It’ll take about 45 minutes to cook through, in the measures given, which gives you plenty of time to get the prep done.
  2. Pop the broccoli florets into a saucepan, and set them aside for now.
  3. Next, finely slice your leeks (or onion), peel your mushrooms of their thick outer skin and remove the stems before cutting into slices, and cut your chicken into bite sized pieces.
  1. On a medium flame, heat a wok or large frying pan before adding oil/butter (or drizzle a little oil over the butter, which will give you the best flavour while preventing the butter from burning). Now add the leeks/onions and season with salt (this, again, helps to stop them burning) before frying gently for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
  2. When the leeks/onions are cooked, add a bit more butter, and then add the sliced mushrooms. Season these with a little more salt (this helps to get the moisture out) and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. In the meantime, put the kettle on and preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  4. Retrieve your saucepan of broccoli florets and sprinkle on 1/2-3/4 tsp chicken powder (optional), 1tsp fishsauce and a splash of dark soy. From the kettle, add just less than 1/3 cup of hot water (the water doesn’t need to have just boiled). Cover, and steam, covered, on high heat for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. While the broccoli is cooking, go back to the leek and mushroom mixture and add the wine to it before turning the heat up to medium/high. Reduce the liquid right down, until its about a quarter of the original volume. Stir now and again while it’s reducing down.
  6. When the wine has reduced down, lower your heat to medium and add the chicken to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
  7. By this time, the broccoli should have cooked for approximately 5 minutes, in which case turn the heat off but leave the lid on to steam cook the last of the hardcore crunch out.
  8. Back to the wok, and season the chicken, leek/onion, mushroom and wine mixture with black pepper and approximately 1/2-1 tsp of tarragon, or to taste. Then add the double cream and stir everything in. Cook for an additional 2 minutes on a low heat before tipping in the broccoli, liquid and all. Add about 1/2-1 tsp of ketjup manis and a few dashes of maggi seasoning (optional) and stir the lot gently before turning the heat off completely.
  9. Now add the cooked rice to the wok, and stir until the rice is evenly coated with everything. Ideally, you want the rice to be a bit wet with the sauce rather than bone dry, so you may not need to use all of the cooked rice.
  10. At this point, transfer the rice mixture into a shallow casserole dish or a high side baking tray and use the back of a wooden spoon to spread it out to an even thickness. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 12-14 minutes. I find that covering the dish with foil helps to prevent it from drying out, and cooks it through more quickly.
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