I call it Confetti Casserole because all the veggies in this make it look like confetti. This casserole is rich in flavor as it's loaded with chicken and rice, colorful veggies, and bacon (you knew that was coming) and shredded cheese. The crumb topping is a buttery panko and Ritz Crackers concoction. The sauce is rich with chicken stock and white wine and...don't freak out...mayonnaise. It give a richness to the dish that wows your mouth. If you are afraid of mayonnaise or a mayo hater (I know some of those, but I still love them anyway), you can substitute sour cream or yogurt. It's okay. Be who you are.
Sounds comforting, huh. Did I sell you?
2 C cooked rice
2 C cooked, shredded chicken
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 C frozen corn kernels
1 C frozen peas
1/2 lb bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
One 8-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C butter
1/4 C flour
2 C chicken stock
1 C mayonnaise
1/2 C white wine (you can leave this out if you like)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 C shredded cheese (I used a combination of cheddar, pepper jack, Monterrey jack, and mozzarella)
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers (I used the garlic butter flavor)
1 C panko bread crumbs
1/4 C butter, melted
To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil and cook the onion, carrots, and celery until tender. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they are tender and browned. Add in the garlic, and then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in the mayo and Worcestershire sauce and heat through. Add the chicken, bacon, peas, corn, and rice and remove from heat. Taste for salt and pepper and add them accordingly.
Grind the Ritz Crackers in a food processor or blender. Mix the crackers, panko and butter together.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Pour the chicken mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top. Sprinkle the cracker topping over the top of the cheese. Bake about 15 minutes to melt the cheese and lightly brown the top.