A classically favorite casserole reinvented with a creamy cheese sauce prepared from scratch (no cream of “x” soups!). This poppyseed chicken casserole has a sneaky shortcut to cook the rice and broccoli quickly making this dish come together efficiently and easily. The from-scratch cheese sauce and crunchy topping makes this casserole unforgettable!
More comfort food favorites:
- Crockpot Cowboy Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole perfect for the holidays
- Quinoa Enchilada Bake reader favorite
- Hawaiian Haystacks Casserole
- One skillet Cheesy Taco Pasta
A classically favorite casserole reinvented with a creamy cheese sauce prepared from scratch (no cream of "x" soups!). This poppyseed chicken casserole has a sneaky shortcut to cook the rice and broccoli quickly making this dish come together efficiently and easily. The from-scratch cheese sauce and crunchy topping makes this casserole unforgettable!
- 4 heaping cups fresh broccoli, cut into small pieces (2 florets; about 11 ounces)
- 1 and 1/2 cups white basmati rice
- 3 cups prepared rotisserie chicken, cut into small cubes (Note 1)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cup low-fat milk (I use 1% to keep this healthier; skim or milk alternatives don't work well)
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated, separated
- 1 cup fat free sour cream (regular sour cream can be used)
- 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, & dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
- Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 3/4 cup Panko or crushed Ritz crackers
- 2 tablespoons butter
BROCCOLI & RICE: Place rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse in cold water for 2-3 minutes or until water runs clear. Set aside. Bring a very large pot of water to boil. Once boiling add in bite-sized chopped broccoli and boil for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, pull out the broccoli and set aside to completely dry (I put on paper towels). Return the water to a boil and then add in the rinsed basmati rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for exactly 5 minutes (do not reduce temperature). Drain the rice and set aside. Pour the rice in an even layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add the broccoli on top of rice as soon as it's completely dried (wet broccoli will water down sauce)
CHICKEN: chop the chicken to get 3 cups. Add right on top of broccoli and rice.
SAUCE: Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Once melted, gradually add in flour while whisking constantly until a thick paste forms. Whisk for one minute and then gradually add in 1/2 cup of the milk while whisking constantly. Gradually add 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth while whisking constantly. Add in another 1/2 cup milk, then remaining 1/2 cup stock, and last remaining 1/2 cup milk. Whisk until completely smooth. Add in 1 and 1/2 cups of cheese and whisk until completely smooth. Add in sour cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chicken bouillon powder, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; add to taste preference). Stir in the poppyseeds.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Pour the sauce over everything and spread to evenly coat. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top of sauce. In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the Panko and toast, stirring constantly, until Panko is a light brown and toasted. Sprinkle topping evenly over cheese. Cover casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Remove and serve hot.