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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Theresa's Chicken Poulet

A couple of weeks ago a dear friend passed away. As I was reflecting on our friendship, that goes way back, a lot of that friendship revolved around food.  I know that comes as a big surprise.  But Theresa always loved feeding people and I think that is one of the places I picked up that habit.  This particular dish was one of her go to dishes.  I understand why now.  It makes a lot and will feed a multitude.  In fact she made this for our wedding.  But that is a story for another day.  So I thought what better tribute to this great friend than making one of her favorite dishes and sharing it with you. I think she would like that.  I guess I should also explain that Poulet is a fancy word for  dressing I think.  This is a lot like southern chicken and dressing.
I really should have made this in two baking pans but I managed to squeeze it all in.  I will say this up front, while I was making one batch I decided to make two and freeze the second one in a couple of smaller pans for another day or to share.  I will show you those pans and tell you after much questions asked got them ready for the freezer.
There are a couple of things I did ahead of time like cook my chicken and make the cornbread.
Start with a really big bowl.  Add 4 cups and no I didn't measure the Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing mix.  This is the stuffing mix that comes in the bags.  There are three different flavors but you will want the herb flavoring.  I will warn you it is hard as a rock too but we are going to change that.
Add 4 cups of crumbled cornbread as well.  I made the cornbread in a cast iron skillet like I have seen my mother do for her dressing.  And as an added bonus the crust is so nice and crispy.  I will confess I pinched off and ate some of the nice crunchy crust.  If my mother is reading this she knows I do this because I use to sneak and do the same thing to her dressing cornbread.
Melt one stick of salted butter.  Don't worry if it is unsalted butter you can add a little more salt later.
Pour the melted butter over the breads and toss well to coat.
The recipe calls for 2 14 oz cans of chicken broth.  I used the large carton because it was on sale.  So I measured out 14 oz of the chicken broth.
Pour over the breads and stir well.  This is going to help soften the breads.  Remember they are hard.  Set aside for a few minutes to soften.  Use this time to cut up the veggies.
Chop a cup of onions
And a cup of celery.  Now the recipe did not call for sautéing  the veggies but I did just a little bit to soften them up.
Add the veggies to the breads
Add 1 teaspoon seasoning salt.  You can also add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sage.  We don't do sage in our dressing so I left it out here too but feel free to add it.
Add 1/2 cup mayo
Now stir all this together. Make sure to stir from the bottom.
Now chop the chicken.  I cut mine in small pieces and after eating it last night I cut it more for a regular casserole, you can shred it and leave the pieces a little bigger if you like.
Mix well.
It still is a little dry so add another 14 oz of chicken broth to the mixture.
Drizzle it all around.
Stir again.  When you think you have it just right add it to your baking dish.
This dish is a little bit bigger than a regular 9x13 pan.  Spray it well and spread out the dressing.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups milk
Add 2 eggs and beat well.
Pour over the top of the dressing.  Because the pan was so full I used a fork and poked holes around to let it soak in.
You see all the liquid sitting on top.  Cover and put in the fridge.  It needs to sit overnight with the milk mixture so it can soak in.  So this recipe needs a little planning.
Set the can of cream of mushroom soup aside because you will use it the next day before you bake it.
This is the second batch I made for the freezer.  After asking a couple people their opinion I did not add the milk/egg mixture on top before freezing.  So when you thaw the casserole you will add the milk and egg and let sit overnight just like when you make it fresh. These are smaller so I think one egg and about 1/2 cup of milk mixed and poured on top will be good.
 Back to the original recipe.  Set the casserole out of the fridge about 2 hours before you are ready to bake.  I told you it took planning.
 Dump the can of cream of mushroom soup on top.
 Spread it out like icing a cake.  Then put in a preheated 400 oven.  Bake for 50 minutes.
 After the 50 minutes, remove from the oven and add about 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
 Now return it back to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
 After the 10 minutes are up remove from the oven and enjoy.
You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to have to taste of Thanksgiving.  This chicken poulet really puts you in the mood for the holidays.  It is a special recipe from a special friend.  In true Theresa fashion now that I have had chicken and dressing can I put up my Christmas trees?

Theresa's Chicken Poulet Recipe

1/2 cup melted butter
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
4 cups cornbread crumbled
4 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 cup mayo
2 1/2 cups cooked and chopped white chicken
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs beaten
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Bake for 50 minutes then add cheese and bake 10 more minutes.  This casserole also freezes beautifully.

2 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorites from working with Theresa and Christy at the Vineyard when they first opened. I think I need to make this soon. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. You're welcome. I can't remember how many times I have had this at Theresa's

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