Snowy Day and Casserole

January 21, 2017 (late post) 

Hooray! 2nd post!

Snowy day today in Seoul.

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View from our window. Isn’t it lovely?

It’s a lovely sight but this Pinay is afraid of the cold. Boo Hoo. So while sipping my coffee, I was contemplating on what to cook for dinner. Mr. Kim was out today to meet his friends and he won’t be back ’til 6pm. Since I have a lot of time in my hands, I planned on making a hearty soup. I browsed youtubes for some recipes and … I dozed off.

Hihi. I woke up at 4 in the afternoon. Now, I have no time to go to the market to pick-up some ingredients. Of course, making soup is out of the question.

I know, probably some of you may think I can just whip up a good kimchi stew…but guess what? We don’t have kimchi at home! Yes! We are kimchi-free. Haha. Mr. Kim isn’t a Kimchi-eating Korean. Although we have different kinds of kimchi (ones made of spring onions and the other is made of radish), you can not really use it to make the kimchi stew.

Moving on, I opened our refrigerator to see what I can cook for dinner. I was trying to channel my inner chef, ala Top Chef. Just kidding. I was surprised to see a box of cream that is past its expiration date (I checked and apparently, it should be okay within 1-2 weeks past printed expiration date. Check here. Plus it is unopened.) To top it off,  we also have chicken, onions, garlic and frozen mixed vegetables. What to make? Hmmm…

Aha! My go to emergency dinner meal… Chicken Casserole (or my take on Chicken Casserole)!

Here is my recipe for chicken casserole:

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Ingredients: 

Chicken:

4-5 pieces of chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite size pieces (I used thighs for this recipe)

1 tbsp of all purpose flour

6 tbsp of olive oil

500g of mushrooms (depends on how much you want!)

200g of mixed vegetables (*optional)

1 medium sized onions, finely diced

4 small garlic cloves (or 3 big garlic cloves)

salt and pepper to taste (you may also add chili pepper flakes if you want a bit of spice)

Sauce:

3 tbsp butter (If you are going to use salted butter, be light on using salt)

3 tbsp flour

1.5 cups of chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth or if you don’t have both, you can use chicken broth cubes which I used this time)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup of cream

Tips: All the ingredients mentioned above can be bought at any supermarket in Seoul. Unfortunately, there are very limited types of cream in Korea. The original recipe which I got from Natasha’s Kitchen calls for a half-and-half (half milk and half heavy cream), but I didn’t have heavy cream so I had to settle for the whipping cream that I have. Don’t worry, it works well. You just need to make more roux to thicken the sauce.

How to make:

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and chili pepper flakes.

2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium or high heat.

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3. Add the bite-sized cut chicken thighs as soon as the oil is hot. (Caution: don’t wait for the oil to smoke. If it smokes, it’s too hot.) There’s no need to cook the chicken thoroughly. Remember, we will have to bake this again. Overcooked chicken tends to have a rubbery texture and you don’t want that. Just make sure that the chicken has a nice color  – not raw pink.

4. Set the half-cooked chicken aside by putting it in a baking dish.

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5. Throw some of the oil, and using the same pan, add the slice mushrooms and minced onions. Sautee until the onion is a bit transparent and the mushrooms are soft and golden. Add mince garlic and sautee for another minute or two. If you want to add mixed vegetables, this is also the time to add it and sautee again for another minute. I also like to season the vegetables this time. Just sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper. Don’t put too much though. It’s easy to add more salt or pepper later when it’s too bland.

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6. Set it aside.

7.Making the roux: Using the same pan, wipe it with a paper towel to remove excess oil. Melt butter and whisk in flour. Keep on whisking until the color turns lightly golden.

8. Add chicken broth and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Add cream and wait for it to simmer. Season it with salt and pepper.

(Notes: If you are using chicken cubes, you can proceed on adding the cream to the roux. Whisk it until smooth. Add lemon juice and keep on whisking, then add the broth cubes. Keep on whisking until smooth. Season to taste.)

9. Add the vegetables into the cream sauce and let it simmer for just 30 seconds more.

10. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken.

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11. Bake it at 180 C for 30-35 minutes. (You can choose to cover it with foil. But it my case, I didn’t do it.)

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12. Serve it over rice or pasta.

I forgot to take pictures right after I took it out of the oven. We were starving and we just ate it right away. It was super easy and delicious!

Remember, you are the master of your dish. Don’t just follow the recipes. Be inventive and creative. As long as it is edible and tasty, you are good to go! 🙂

I hope you’ll give it a try.

Happy eating 😀

– Kathz

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