Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken and Kale Casserole

For you, I worked my way through a Martha Stewart recipe, using a total of 4 dishes only to discover that had I just thought ahead a wee bit, I could have done it all with only 2 dishes. And since one of the two is a colander, I say it doesn’t really count, and I can call this a one-pot meal.

So, in my pictures you will see the sad documentation of excess dishes. I encourage you to take a different path, the path that I’ll describe in my instructions. That way, at the end of your meal, you’ll save time and have more water left in your tanks (and that is important if you drink as much tea as I do).

On a final note, I made several adjustments and modifications to this recipe. The changes make it less expensive and easier for boat life, and thus more likely I’ll make it again. But even with the changes, it got great reviews! The grown-ups all loved it, and while the four-year old initially said nope, she got the hang of the ricotta and ended up finishing her bowl.

As usual, I’ll leave the original recipe intact and note my changes in parentheses. I have also included directions for both stove-top and oven baked options.

Chicken and Kale Casserole

From everyday food, Serves 8
You will need…

Course salt and ground pepper
¾ pound large pasta shells
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced medium
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches kale (1.5 lbs), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped (I used half kale and half beet greens. Love beet greens).
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken from ½ rotisserie chicken (I used one 12.5 oz can of chicken, drained. Less than 2 cups, but it was fine).
1 container, 48 oz, part-skim ricotta (the biggest container I could find was 32 oz, and it looked like plenty. It was).
3 Tbsp finely grates lemon zest, from 2 lemons (I used 2 Tbsp lemon juice from ½ lemon).
¾ cup Parmesan, grated (I used good old Parmesan “shake cheese”)

1) The original recipe called for baking this casserole. I modified for stove-top. If you want to bake it, then preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you will not be oven baking, head to step two.

2) In a Dutch Oven of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, and leave in colander.

 3) In your newly empty Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is beginning to soften, ~ 4 mins. Add kale, cover, and cook until almost tender, ~ 5 mins. Return pasta to Dutch Oven and gently mix.

Softening onions and garlic.

Kale and Beet Greens on top of onions, just before covering

Veggies mixed with pasta shells

 4) Stir in chicken, ricotta and lemon zest/juice. If baking, skip to step five now. If stove-top, stir in all ¾ cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and cover. Adjust heat to low-low. When pot begins to gently bubble, your casserole is ready! ~ 10 mins.

Freshly stirred, not yet simmering!
5) If baking, stir in ½ cup Parmesan, then top with remaining ¼ cup. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes. (Note: I’m assuming you can simply bake it in the Dutch oven, uncovered. I see no reason why not, but I haven’t tried it. If you want to follow Martha, then transfer your casserole mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish before topping with the ¼ cup Parmesan. This route will add one more dish though!)

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