Chicken Mushroom Casserole For The Lazy Snob

As we settle into the long, cold, dark days that come with the final slog through winter, we — your pals from The Awl and The Hairpin — will be bringing you some of our favorite casserole recipes (and crockery recommendations). But these won’t be just any old casseroles! No, no, that won’t do at all. These are fancy casseroles — or at least, not-gross ones.

Truth be told, this is a recipe born of laziness.

You ever have those days where you decide upon waking up that you are simply not going to step foot outside your home, barring a house fire or catastrophic flood? I often find that the notion of having to interact with other humans is more than I can bear, and the most soothing balm for the frayed nerves that come along with having to be a functioning member of society most days of the week is to hide behind a locked door on the weekend. As a great lover of arbitrary and vaguely punishing self-imposed rules, however, I make bargains with myself, like, “You can squirrel yourself away in the apartment, but you have to wash the floors and you aren’t allowed to order food. You’ll make do with what you have in the home.” Because, basically, I guess I’m my own evil stepmother?

It just so happened that on one such day, my refrigerator and pantry contained the dregs of a Whole Foods grocery run and not much else. A few chicken breasts I’d frozen, a stray onion and a package of sliced mushrooms, a bag of fancifully colored teeny potatoes I’d had such ambitions to roast after work one night and serve with a nice steak and some leafy greens but instead left sitting in the crisper drawer and, like, ate brownies for dinner instead.

And in the pantry, a can of Whole Foods-brand cream of mushroom soup. Well then! Move over gloppy Campbell’s condensed junk soup, there’s something leaner.

All these things got cut up and thrown together in a casserole dish, along with a hefty shake of black pepper and several hundred dashes of Tabasco Sauce because Tabasco Sauce is the greatest sauce in all of sauceland. And then I remembered that there was a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry tucked away, and in my family we put Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry in everything. So sure, glug glug, a few splashes of the sherry and into the oven. And holy Toledo was this thing ever great, if a bit absurdly 1%ish. Like, a casserole you could feel proud to serve to, say, your editor with the notoriously snobby mouth? You know the one, the guy who yells things at you like, “KEEP YOUR GARBAGE BUTTER OUT OF MY MOUTH.” Love that guy.

Right, so let’s casserole! These are the things you need, though obviously you can adjust and add and subtract and wail about how math is hard to your heart’s content, because it’s a casserole and we don’t need to be overly precious about a casserole recipe.

1 small package sliced mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 bag fancifully colored teeny potatoes, halved or quartered if necessary to make everything evenly sized
1 14.5 oz. can Whole Foods organic cream of mushroom soup
1 lb. organic, free-range, Bard-educated, Mother Jones-subscribing, floaty-scarf-wearing boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry, several splashes
Black pepper and/or Tabasco to taste

And then this is what you’ll do with these things: mix them together in a casserole dish and bake at 350 covered for 25 minutes, uncovered 20 minutes. You can also parboil the potatoes if they’re on the larger side and you’re worried they won’t cook all the way through.

BOOM. Chicken mushroom casserole for the 1%. Serve tax-free.

Jolie Kerr secretly serves her editor garbage butter. Photo by Ming-yen Hsu, via Flickr.