Thursday, May 17, 2012
I doubt Ms. Stewart is making this "casserole" anytime soon, but one of her cronies made it up in their recipe test kitchen, and I am glad they did! It was SO GOOD.
Since I have all this fresh beautiful leafy spinach from my garden and had leftover roast chicken from the night before, I googled chicken with spinach recipes, and this is what came up.
How much spinach salad can one person eat? This recipe would fit the bill.
This is a cross between a chicken pot pie on steroids and an amazing dish of creamed spinach.
More of a winter dish, I know, but my spinach wants to grow now, so who am I tell it otherwise?
You can skip the step of cooking the spinach for 2 minutes, since you will add the fresh spinach to the hot white sauce, it will wilt anyway.
I added more garlic to the recipe and used delicious ciabatta pieces for the top.
Remember, this recipe uses FRESH LEAF SPINACH, not the wimpy baby spinach imposter (which has no taste and will fall apart in this hearty dish).
Also, remember to season this dish liberally where noted, with salt & pepper. You want a pinch here and there, but it makes a big difference when a dish like this is underseasoned.
Chicken & Spinach Bake (adapted from Martha Stewart):
2 cups torn bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups packed flat-leaf fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (or leftover roasted chicken)
In a medium bowl, combine the torn bread pieces with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and mix with your hands till bread is coated. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute the onion and garlic on medium for about 7 minutes until soft.
Season w/ salt & pepper.
Add the white wine and cook 5 minutes till most of the wine is evaporated.
Working quickly, add the flour to the skillet and cook 30 seconds.
Gradually add in the half and half and whisk until it becomes a thick white sauce. Add lemon juice and bring to a boil for a minute or two. The sauce should be the consistency of bechamel.
Take the pan off the heat and add in your cooked chicken and chopped fresh spinach. Toss with tongs or a big spoon to incorporate all the ingredients and to wilt the spinach. Coat everything with the white sauce. Season w/ more salt & pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a buttered 8 x 10 casserole dish.
At this point, it will look like one big hot mess.
Now comes the icing on the cake.
Lay your oily torn bread pieces on top of the spinach chicken mixture and pat down.
Bake in a 375F oven for about 15-20 minutes until casserole is bubbly and bread pieces are golden and crisp.
Let rest a few minutes before digging in!
Best part is grabbing a spoonful of a crispy crouton with the wet heavenly creamed spinach.