Chicken-And-Rice Bake With Broccolini

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A comforting dinner that will bring everyone to the table.

Southern Living Chicken-and-Rice Bake with Broccolini in pan with serving spoon
Photo:

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
Servings:
6

Chicken and rice is one of those all-time comfort foods that just make you feel better about life. This dressed-up version kicks it up a notch by using Broccolini, a hybrid that is like a longer, leggier cousin of those big beefy heads of broccoli you usually find at the market.

This company-worthy casserole is a smart mix of shortcuts—like microwave-ready rice—and homemade flavor boosters, like a quick white sauce, to deliver big, comforting flavor with a minimal amount of fuss.

While you don't have to use fontina cheese (shredded white sharp Cheddar would be fine), the creamy, salty richness of fontina is worth the splurge.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 8 oz. fresh Broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided

  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped (2/3 cup)

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 8 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), divided

  • 1 (8.8-oz.) pkg. microwave-ready white rice, uncooked

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

Directions

Know Your Options

No Broccolini at your market? Prepare the recipe as directed, substituting 4 cups broccoli florets.

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

    Stir together chicken, Broccolini, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper in an 11- x 7-inch (2-quart) baking dish until evenly coated. Bake, uncovered, until chicken and Broccolini are partially cooked, about 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Reduce heat to medium, and stir in flour; cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth; bring to a simmer over medium. Cook, whisking often, until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the fontina, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth.

  3. Transfer chicken and Broccolini to sauce in skillet, discarding any juices in baking dish. Add rice to skillet; stir until just coated. Spoon mixture into baking dish.

  4. Stir together panko, thyme, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and remaining 1/2 cup fontina in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over chicken mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 400°F until top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with additional thyme.

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