One of my husband's favorite dishes was this one...only 20 years ago, I didn't use a roasted chicken, fresh mushrooms, white wine and dried cherries. This dish is great for this time of year especially, and even though I haven't made it since my husband died, I still love it just the same. It also freezes beautifully, as shown below. The water chestnuts add crunch, while the dried cherries add a touch of sweetness. And I don't think I need to convince you that a roasted chicken has so much more flavor than chicken breasts that are boiled...
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms (I used cremini 1 1/2 sticks butter
and Portobello) 1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour 3 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half 1/2 cup whole milk
1 whole roasted chicken, pulled apart and 2 boxes uncle ben's long grain and wild rice
cut into chunks mix, cooked
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted in the oven 1/2 cup chopped celery
and chopped 1 oz can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries 1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan or something of about the same size. Melt 4 tbsp butter in a large skillet. Saute the mushrooms until tender, and then put juice and all in a bowl. In the same skillet, melt the stick of butter and saute the onion until tender. Stir in the flour, cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until all the flour and butter are incorporated. Slowly add the 3 cups of chicken broth into the flour/butter mixture, stirring the entire time. Add the half and half and cook until the mixture is thickened. I use a whisk to make sure the white sauce, which this really is, does not burn on the bottom of the pan. After the mixture is thickened, add the white wine and stir. If your pan is large enough, you can proceed, but I dump the whole mixture into a very large bowl. Add the mushrooms, chicken, rice, toasted almonds, salt, water chestnuts and dried cherries. Mix well and then pour into the prepared casserole. Bake uncovered about 25-35 minutes, or until the top is just starting to brown. You don't want the casserole to be dry, so if not sure, err on the side of the casserole being too creamy...everything is already cooked anyway. Bon appetit!