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Old 12-29-2008, 01:10 PM   #1
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New Cook...looking for advice on chicken casserole

I'm just learning how to cook after years of eating from boxes and bags :)
So consequently I have some pretty basic questions to ask.

I saw a couple recipes for Tuscan Chicken (seasoned chicken with cannelloni beans) and thought it looked good but would like to try a variation - a casserole with spiced chicken chucks rather than with breast halves.

my question: Is it best to bake the chicken untill fully cooked, then cut up into chunks and bake with beans (and whatever sauce/spices I decide to use)? Or should I cut up raw then bake? Or cut up and saute until partially cooked?

thanks!

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Old 12-29-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
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To keep from over cooking the chicken, I think you would put the chicken chunks in raw and bake in with the beans.

BTW... welcome to DC!
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice and for the welcome, Sattie!
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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How long does the recipe say to cook it? A lot of casseroles use chicken that is already cooked.

But yes, I agree with sattie, cut the chicken in chunks first. No need to make a mess cutting up the cooked chicken already covered with other ingredients. Just make the chunks a bit larger. If everything else is already cooked that goes into this dish that's one thing. If there is raw onion and such going into it you need to give the onion time to cook, which could take more than 30 minutes. Maybe give your raw things a quick saute first.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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The recipe for tuscan chicken casserole I have didn't specify - it's likely I did not cut and paste well now I can't find the recipe so I'm trying to figure out the best way to do it.
Since chicken chunks will cook quicker than breast halves, it's better to leave them raw and bake with the beans. I'm thinking about adding minced garlic & onions, saute them in olive oil with spices and add to chicken and beans just before baking?
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:38 PM   #6
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Vermin... I would saute the garlic and onion (consider adding some finely diced carrot and celery too they wont intrude on your dish but will help enhance flavors) in a bit of oil and then add your chicken chunks to the pan and brown them a bit I think you will get better flavor/texture this way.

You could also deglaze the fond from the pan with a bit of stock and use the resulting sauce to moisten your casserole.
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:24 PM   #7
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Thank you, that sounds good. I also wanted to use Rosemary and Sage, do I put that in with the saute or wait until the bake?
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Old 12-29-2008, 04:38 PM   #8
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I would put the herbs in towards the end of the saute. Just to release the oils.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:37 PM   #9
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Just to update everyone on what I did. I ended up sauteing (I think that's a word) the chicken, then sauteing onions & peppers with some dried herbs (oregano & thyme) and added the fresh herbs (garlic, rosemary & basil) at the end. I don't know if the thyme and basil were necessary (they might have been overwhelmed by the stronger herbs). I simmered in a wine/chicken broth mix (mostly white wine - I added the chicken broth because I wasn't sure if the wine I had was enough. I also added in a can of cannellini beans.
Criticisms - too salty, likely because I brined the chicken then seasoned it before I sauteed. In hindsight there was no reason to brine since I cooked it in liquid, so that step will be eliminated next time.
I also thought the chicken was too dry (odd since it was brined AND cooked in liquid) and the beans were too soft. Since they both indicate overcooking, I'll put in less liquid (stick to the cup of wine) and check the chicken a bit more closely. I'll also add in another can of beans since it seemed like it was a lot of chicken garnished by beans. Overall, though, I liked it. It was very spicy but that's the way I like it.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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