I love the days when my cooking/food magazines show up in my mailbox. I get almost as excited as Billy Madison did when his pornos arrived, and I silently chant “Foodie magazine day! Foodie magazine day!” to myself, something I probably shouldn’t admit out loud. But, whatever.
So a couple months ago my Taste of the South magazine showed up, and this recipe immediately screamed “you must make me!!!” Because it was definitely winter then, and mild winter or not, a creamy baked chicken dish sounded heavenly, plus I was inexplicably giddy about the idea of garnishing the top with crushed Cheez-It* crackers that have been coated in melted butter.
Having grown up where I did, I feel almost positive that at some point I’d eaten a poppy seed chicken casserole during childhood – it just sounded so familiar. But I’m quite certain that the one(s) I ate did not have crushed cheese crackers on the top, because I think I would have remembered that! As I’ll likely remember this one, always.
It lived up to my high hopes and drooling anticipation, with lusciously creamy chicken studded with soft mushrooms, and totally complemented by crunchy, familiar cheese cracker crumbs. A perfect mid-winter, cozy supper. I highly recommend. Enjoy!
Source: Taste of the South Magazine, January/February 2016
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms (can also use white button if you prefer)
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used the entirety of a small store-bought rotisserie chicken)
1 tbs poppy seeds
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cups crushed cheese crackers, such as Cheez-Its
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Place a 12” cast-iron skillet over medium heat and melt the stick of butter. Add mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 4-5 minutes. Whisk in the milk, then immediately shut off the heat and stir in the cream cheese until melted and smooth. Now stir in chicken, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the crushed cheese crackers and melted butter. Smooth out the chicken mixture in the skillet, then sprinkle the crushed cracker mixture over the top evenly.
Bake until bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
* I mention Cheez-Its simply because that is what I used. This post is not sponsored or paid for by a third party in any way.