You may call it a casserole, but in Minnesota it's a hot dish—or, more precisely, it’s hot dish, with no “a.” Certainly no potluck in the state is complete without one or more of these all-in-one-pan main dishes. It may be a no-frills concoction of hamburger and noodles, or it may feature the state’s most celebrated native ingredient, wild rice. Here, the ceremonial legacy of the Sioux and Chippewa peoples is combined with other singular ingredients: chicken breast, morel mushrooms, organic cream, and fresh thyme. Call it “haute hot dish.”
1. Place mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Push the mushrooms under the water and let them soak until they have softened, 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse mushrooms well with cool water, and chop them coarsely.
2. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium flame. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in chopped mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, another 4-6 minutes. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stir well, and cook mixture, stirring often, 4-5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine chicken stock and cream in a non-metal bowl; microwave until hot, 2-3 minutes. Stir the stock mixture into the vegetables, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally as mixture thickens, 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper
4. Combine vegetable mixture with chicken, wild rice, parsley and thyme. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Spread mixture in a buttered casserole dish. It can be covered and refrigerated at this point or baked immediately.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, 35-45 minutes. If you’re using Parmesan, sprinkle it over the hot dish after the first 20 minutes of baking time. Serve piping hot.
Copyright by Terese Allen