Marsala Chicken, Mushroom and Rice Bake

[This is me adding a note of apology here on November 13, 2013... I think this is one of my first posts after I started the blog and the apology has to do with the photos.  They're awful and totally cringe-worthy.  I don't know why I haven't updated them, but I intend to do just that.  Please don't let the awful-ness of the photos in any way influence your feelings about making this dish.  It's lovely and delicious and goes together in a snap.  Do try and use Marsala wine if you can get your hands on some.  It makes the dish.  Patrice]

It was a rainy day yesterday; chilly and very fall-ish. The kind of day that begs a person to curl up someplace warm with a cup of tea, a soft throw, and a good book.  Most fall days around here have been like that lately, and if I had given in to that urge as often as it came up this past month, I could have gotten through a few of those books waiting for me on my nightstand.  As it is, most often when I feel that fall chill, I’m pulled by the hair into the kitchen with this irresistible urge to warm up the place with my oven.  If I can make the house smell divine, all the better.

I can’t remember when, how or where I picked up this recipe, but the note I left for myself on it says that it’s from Rachael Ray.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not so much into the food network these days, and it’s been a very long while since I watched Ms. Ray, but I do have several of her recipes in my “favorites” collection.  This is definitely one of them. 

Mark has declared this one of his very favorite meals, and I, too, think it’s dreamy.  It’s pretty easy to put together, and as usual, I didn’t follow the recipe altogether perfectly.  I think you could follow the recipe exactly and it would still be wondrous, but I’ll just tell you what I did and you can decide for yourself.

First off, the recipe calls for coarsely chopped rotisserie chicken.  I don’t usually have rotisserie chicken, so I pan-roasted two large chicken breasts and 6 chicken thighs.  Do not overcook your chicken as it’s going to cook a little more in the oven.  But the thing I like about cooking my own chicken here, is that I can use the same pan to make the mushroom sauce and all those yummy chicken flavors get added into the sauce.

The recipe calls for ½ cup cream, but I swapped it out for MimicCream.  Have you heard about this stuff?  I have nothing against cream, really, just sometimes the calories.  When I heard about MimicCream, I went on the hunt and ended up buying it online.  It’s fabulous!!  I think the base is from almonds, so if you’re allergic to nuts, don’t even think about using it.  I always keep some on hand (it comes in cartons like chicken broth), and once opened will keep for several weeks in the fridge.  Either way, the cream is a necessity in this recipe.

The marsala wine in the sauce is heavenly, and the addition of the parmesan cheese at the end gives it another flavor punch.  It’s easy, it’s delicious, and we think you’ll love it.

Marsala Chicken, Mushroom and Rice Bake
Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons, butter

10 oz. sliced mushrooms

1 1/2 tablespoons, flour

1/2 cup marsala wine (or white wine)

1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 - 4 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken

1 cup rice

1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup water

salt and pepper

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, or until just softened, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute.  Stir in the marsala and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and water, the parsley, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

In a greased 9 x 13 casserole, spread the rice in an even layer; top with the chicken.  Pour the mushroom sauce on top. (Note: the mushroom sauce must be hot when you pour it over the chicken and rice or the rice will not cook through).  Cover snugly with foil and bake until bubbly, about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle the parmesan on top and bake for another 5 minutes.