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Chicken and Spinach Casserole

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Last week I had the dilemma of a lot of aging spinach in my fridge.  Not wanting to waste it, I looked in my recipes and found a good one that not only utilized spinach, but also some leftover bread I had.  This casserole recipe comes from the October 2010 issue of, guess, where, Everyday Food.  I almost hesitated sharing this with you because I am starting to sound like a paid advertiser.  I'm not.  I am, however, enjoying many of the recipes from the magazine issues I have recently purchased.  I should also point out that my husband gets props for doing the bulk of the work on this recipe.  I wasn't feeling that great so he stepped up while I played sous chef.  Thanks, Drew!



This recipe comes together quickly because it utilizes already cooked chicken.  It's perfect for using up leftovers.  A quick saut√© of the vegetables and a short time in the oven is all it takes to get dinner to your table.  Serve this with a side of carrots or a baked potato, or, you know, whatever suits you.  I also think that chopped broccoli in place of the spinach would be nice, but I haven't tested that one out. 



I will post this recipe as I made it, along with a link to its webpage on the Martha Stewart website so you can see the original recipe.  



Chicken and Spinach Casserole
from Everyday Food, October 2010

2 cups torn bread (I used sourdough and it was great!)
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 cups, packed, fresh spinach
1 med. yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tb. all purpose flour
3/4 c. 2% milk
3/4 c. half and half
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup shredded chicken


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine bread with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt. Set aside. In a medium pot, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add spinach; season with salt. Cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander, let cool, then squeeze out water. Coarsely chop.

Wipe pot clean and heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over medium. Add onion, garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.

Add broth to pot and cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in half-and-half. Add lemon juice and bring mixture to a boil over high.

Remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and top with bread pieces. Bake until bread is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes.



Notes
  • I think that you could probably skip the first step by purchasing a 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawing it, and squeezing it dry, but the fresh is nice. 
  • I am not sure what the recipe would have been like if I had used all half and half, as the recipe suggested, but with the combination of half and half and 2% milk, it was still nice and creamy.

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