Classic Chicken and Wild Rice Hotdish

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
5 min
1 hr 20 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup natural wild rice
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cooked chicken
  • 4 ounces aged Gouda or aged cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups coarsely ground buttery crackers (such as Ritz or Club; about 2 sleeves)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Put the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it under cold running water, swishing the rice with your hand until the water runs clear. Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and add water to cover. Pour off any black bits or floating kernels, pour the rice back into the sieve to drain, then put it in a small saucepan. Add 1 1/4 cups water, a pinch of salt and the bay leaf; bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated. (If liquid remains after the rice is done, drain it in a sieve.)

  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and celery and season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

  • Add the flour to the vegetables and stir until well combined. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer, whisking to prevent any lumps. Add the cream, chicken stock, thyme, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until the floury taste dissipates, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the cooked chicken, wild rice (minus the bay leaf) and half of the cheese and heat until the cheese melts.

  • Put the crushed crackers in a heavy plastic bag and add 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the olive oil. Shake to combine and set aside.

  • Rub a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a thin layer of soft butter. Pour the chicken mixture into the dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes.

  • Pull the dish from the oven, sprinkle the cracker mixture over the top and bake until the crackers turn golden brown and the mixture bubbles in the center, 15 to 20 more minutes. Serve immediately.

  • Photograph by Christina Holmes

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.4 14
Made this one for my family and most of them loved it. My daughter said it was amazing. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Liked this dish. I felt it needed much more rice but I think it is because I did not have leeks or celery on hand. Added carrots. Also, I did not have enough crackers, so half of the casserole had crush croutons, which actually worked well! Will definitely be making again when I have all the ingredients, and add more rice. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I like this dish because the sauce is made with fresh ingredients unlike a lot of chicken and rice casseroles that call for cream of chicken soup. It makes my annoyingly picky boyfriend happy. I like this new chef. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was fabulous, I am so glad there are leftovers! I used some aged gouda cheese leftover from the holidays. I doubt I would make this again without it, it added such a wonderful smokey flavor! This is a keeper, pinned it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious! Loved the flavor of the leeks. Used a prepared organic whole chicken from our local co op to save time. Definitely will make again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family loves this dish. It is so easy and so flavorful. I'm making it for the second time per their request! item not reviewed by moderator and published
We loved this dish but it takes much longer than 5 minutes prep time! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Awesome!!! I did use SMOKED cheddar instead, only because that's what sounded tasty when I was getting cheese. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thought this was outstanding! I made it for my Dad, who is from Minnesota, and he loved it. I followed the recipe exactly except I only put about 1.5 cups of crackers on top. I was expecting a creamy dish of comfort food and that's exactly what I got! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I agree with cwirkus2000. Mine was lacking in flavor and I expected more from the dish. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Overall great casserol. I loved it the best when it had finished cooking on the stove. It has a wonderful creamy texture and great flavor. Once you put it in the oven for 25 minutes and then bake it 15 more minutes with the crackers, it was not quite as good--too much baking and too many crackers. I think next time I will put it in the casserol and top with 1/2 of the crackers and bake for only 15 minutes. Too many crackers overwhelm the delicate flavor and texture of the wild rice. Also, I think you could make this lower calorie by using just whole milk (or a combo of skim milk and half-n-half) and not lose any flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was okay but lacked that wow factor I was expecting since it's supposed to be Minnesota's favorite dish. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I disagree with the last review. My hotdish was delicious. I have other recipes for wild rice hotdish and this was the very best. I used aged cheddar and the hotdish had tons of flavor. I would definitely recommend it. Love, love, love Amy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was really excited to cook this hot dish after seeing it in the latest Food Network magazine. I cooked as directed without any changes (even the butter and used Club Original crackers to top. The end result was a very creamy, but one note hot dish. I served it with a crisp salad and veggies and homemade vinaigrette which helped balance the meal. Good, but not great. item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Potluck Parties