chicken noodle casserole with garlic cream sauce

Sir Dave is down for the count with a pretty nasty case of the flu, poor guy. To try to make him feel a smidge better I thought I’d whip up a casserole, and chicken-noodle anything is supposed to be a cure-all, right?

While this recipe is a bit time-consuming, it’s definitely worth it. And I actually love a recipe that takes awhile to put together – I just throw some British procedural detective shows up on my laptop and chop and stir away – it’s kind of my zen place. And sometimes when I have a captive audience, I may even pretend I have a cooking show and explain what I’m doing to the furry spectators.

Am I the only one? I’ve obviously said too much. Let’s get to the recipe.

Cook time: 2 Hours
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
Stock:
3 large bone in chicken breasts
8 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 head of garlic

Casserole:
8 tbs butter
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup frozen peas
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock (from above)
1/4 cup heavy cream
12 oz egg noodles
3 cups shredded chicken (from above)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
fresh parsley

First, to make the chicken stock place the whole chicken breasts into a large dutch oven. Add the head of garlic, sliced down the equator (you don’t have to peel), the bay leaves and the thyme. Fill the pot with water until the chicken breasts are submerged. Heat to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Skim the fat off of the surface as it simmers.

Meanwhile, add 2 tbs butter, the chopped fresh vegetables and 2 minced garlic cloves to a large saute pan and cook until tender, about 10 minutes on medium heat. Set aside.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling to cook the pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and set aside until assembly.

Once the stock is done, remove the chicken and set aside to cool until it can be shredded by hand. Also remove the garlic and set aside. Strain the stock, discarding the herbs, ensuring you have at least 4 cups, you will likely have a bit more.

To start the cream sauce, mash 4 garlic cloves from the garlic that simmered with the stock and chicken. Since the garlic head was cut in half, just grab enough halves to approximate 4 total cloves. Add the mashed garlic and 3 tbs butter into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour once the butter is melted, and whisk, combining all ingredients for about a minute. Next slowly add 4 cups of chicken stock and continue whisking over medium heat until it begins to thicken, about six minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Time to combine everything! In a large pot, add the shredded chicken, the cooked noodles, the cooked vegetables, the 1 cup of frozen peas and the sauce. Mix together so that everything is well coated. Place in a casserole dish, cover and cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

While the casserole is cooking in the oven, heat 2 tbs of butter in a saucepan and add the breadcrumbs toasting over medium heat until golden.

Remove the casserole from the oven, top with the toasted breadcrumbs and two tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley.

Not only did Dave perk up a bit, but now we’ve got lunch for the week.

Cheers everybody! 😀

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