The rice in this casserole filling is cooked until it starts to fall apart, thickening the liquid.
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2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, skinless, cut into pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup long grain rice
4 cups water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, turning occasionally with tongs, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the sweet potato, onion and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice, the add the water and the reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is very tender and starting to fall apart, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the filling to a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese, then scatter the bread crumbs over top. Bake the casserole until the filling is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.
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