Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

I’m always in the mood for a good casserole, and this Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Casserole is just what I’ve been craving lately. This recipe is packed with fresh veggies, juicy chicken, fragrant spices, TWO kinds of rice, and a creamy dreamy cheese sauce.

Putting it Together

Every good casserole or soup starts with celery, onions, and carrots…but a great one adds in garlic too! The fresh veggies get sautéed in olive oil just until they get a little tender. Something I love about this dish are all the different textures. I don’t let the veggies get fully soft, I like them to have a bite left to them.

I used a rotisserie chicken in this recipe, but you could cook up some chicken breast and just chop them up to make up your 2 cups. Rotisserie chicken is my go-to for a lot of dishes because I almost always get exactly 2 cups using the whole bird.

Brown rice and local wild rice (both U.S. grown) are the two varieties I used in this dish. You could also use white rice. Rice can take 40-50 minutes to cook, so plan ahead for your rice cooking time which is not included in the written recipe. Follow your specific rice package instructions for cooking times. Being from Minnesota we have plenty of local wild rice so it was fun to use local Minnesota grown rice!

This cheese sauce really pulls everything together, and is super easy to make. Get creative and try different cheese varieties! Classic cheddar is always a good idea in my opinion. Sharp cheddar is what I used when writing this recipe, and it was perfect.

I absolutely love my Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe so wanted to bring in a touch of that into this dish, so I added some cooking sherry to the cheese sauce to give it that little something extra. A Monterey Jack blend is what I used on the top. I love the color variation as it melts, plus has a mild flavor that doesn’t over power the rest of the dish.

Rubbed sage (my fav) and some dried thyme leaves are fall staples in my spice drawer. They just bring this dish to life and give you that hint of fall holiday aromas. Yum! Makes a hearty, satisfying family meal, and wonderful leftovers too!

Serve with a simple side salad, and some warm buttered bread. Now that’s what I call a mid-west classic comfort food dish! I’m already looking forward to making this Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Casserole again. Enjoy!

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Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

Course Main Course
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Author Laura Doerr

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken such as rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup cooked U.S.-grown wild rice
  • 2 cups cooked U.S.-grown brown rice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

For the Sauce

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
  • Pinch rubbed sage for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Add olive oil, carrots, celery, and onions to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté for 5-10 minutes. Stir in garlic, dried thyme leaves, and rubbed sage, cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, wild rice, brown rice, and salt and pepper. Cover. and remove from heat while you make the sauce.

  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour, and whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes to cook out the raw flour. Slowly pour in the chicken broth while whisking, bring heat up to high until sauce is boiling. Reduce heat to low and whisk in sherry wine, fresh cracked pepper, and the 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese. Once smooth and cheese is fully melted, pour sauce into the chicken and rice mixture. Stir to combine, and pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until sides begin to bubble and cheese is melted.

  4. Sprinkle with rubbed sage for garnish and extra flavor.

Recipe Notes

Prep time does not account for rice cooking time. Make sure to read your rice instructions and plan for rice cooking time.

If casserole seems too dry, stir in additional chicken broth before transferring to baking dish.

2 Comments

  • Pam
    Posted November 23, 2020 6:18 pm 0Likes

    This was really good!! I added French fried onions on top of Monterey cheese which sealed the deal with added crunch!! I added the cheese and onions the last 10 minutes of baking.. It’s a keeper! I also took a short step and used a couple of pre-cooked 90 sec rice blends. Thanks for this amazing recipe!

    • Laura Doerr
      Posted November 23, 2020 6:41 pm 0Likes

      Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed! I LOVE crispy fried onions, perfect for casserole topping. Thank you!

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