How many ways have you made or eaten Chicken Florentine? I have over a dozen attempts of trying various recipes and each time I leave the table, I am not impressed. My journey to reach this version is long and I am sure I will tinker with it even more, yet it is getting closer to what I want on my plate. When I reach the next fork in the road, I am sure my choice will be right.
A reader left a comment the other day on one of my recipes asking about changing the cooking method and of having tried another version using different ingredients. Well, first of all, doing so would not keep it 'my' recipe and second, like I replied, recipes are like driving directions - no one ever pays them any attention yet somehow most end up in the right place... those who get lost should not be on the road.
Whatever you choose to keep in this recipe is up to you. My thought of Chicken Florentine is, well, a dish that is loaded with chicken and fresh spinach. After that, a medley of flavorful herbs and the contrast of wild rice for taste and texture bind together with a mellow cream sauce with just a hint of cheese. Nothing jockeying over the other, each flavor riding in harmony with the other. Enjoy!
Chicken Florentine Wild Rice Casserole
about 8 servings
2 1/4 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 chicken breasts, skin removed
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup wild & whole grain brown rice blend (I used Lundberg)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup light cream
salt & pepper to taste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 -6 oz bags fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1/2 cup grated Coby cheese
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs or Panko
1 tablespoon butter, melted
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the bouillon, herbs to the water and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer covered until chicken is tender. Remove chicken to cool saving the stock.
Rinse the rice several times in a bowl of water refreshing the water after each time. Add the butter to the chicken stock along with the rice. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Do not remove lid. Turn off heat and let set for at least 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese and cream together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the chicken from the bones and tear meat into bite size pieces. Fold the chicken, onion, spinach and Coby cheese into the sour cream mixture mixing well. Fluff the rice with a fork and spoon into the mixture. Spoon into a 13x9 inch buttered casserole dish spreading out evenly. Sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese over the top and cover with foil.
Cook in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 30 minutes.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the butter. Remove foil and sprinkle crumbs over the melted cheese. Bake uncovered another 15 to 20 minutes or until nice and brown.