Good day! Today I have a very special recipe for you, from the recipe box of my ain grandmother. She is the master of easy cheffery: many of her recipes are low-to-medium effort, and yet they all manage to be alarmingly delicious. If I remember correctly, she sent my mother off to college with a copy of The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book. I’m not sure how she manages to make such tasty, easy-esque food—possibly with the assistance of pixie elks?—but I borrow her recipes one by one in the hopes of learning to cook more like she does.
While today’s recipe contains more ingredients than I usually tolerate cooking with, I’ve nonetheless found it to be well-worthwhile to a lazybum like me because (a) it’s delicious, (b) it makes a respectably large amount of food (so if you average out time spent per portion, it’s reasonable), and (c) if you freeze portions and then reheat them later, the sauce helps it to taste just as good as when it was fresh.
When I wrote to my grandmother to ask if I could post her recipe, she wrote back not only granting permission, but offering additional lazybum-friendly hints on how to prepare it. She says:
“It’s not so time-consuming if you do it in steps—e.g. sauté the mushrooms one day (takes only 5 minutes or so) and fridge them. Have a store-roasted chickie for dinner, and the next day, pull off its remaining meat (you should have about 4 cups of meat for the ensuing sauce – adjust accordingly). Then, when it suits, make the sauce and cook the spaghetti and assemble all.”
Isn’t she cute? She often prepares tetrazzinis and freezes them whole. I’ve found I prefer to create a tetrazzini, bake the whole thing, eat it for 2-4 dinners, and then package and freeze the remainder in individual dinner-sized chunks, either in Tupperware containers or foil packages. (I then can easily plop a single serving into the microwave for dinner; even in a microwave, it reheats beautifully.)
Since I’m going off gluten for a month, I tweaked my grandmother’s original recipe slightly in order to make it gluten-free. (You can use equivalent gluten-full ingredients if you’d prefer.)
Gluten-Free Chicken Tetrazzini
- 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken (buy either a roaster chicken, or 6 chicken breasts)
- 1 pound sliced mushrooms
- 9 tbs. butter
- 1.5 tbs. lemon juice or 1 lemon
- 6 tbs. gluten-free flour
- 3 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup sherry
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 – 1 pound gluten-free spaghetti, thin if possible
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
(Remember: you can spread these steps over several days, if you’re short on time or patience. See above.)
- Assemble chicken: either pull meat off roaster, or simmer chicken breasts in 6 cups of boiling water for 20-25 minutes.
- Sauté 1lb. sliced mushrooms in 3tbs+ butter, ‘till tender (about 10 minutes). Add 1.5tbs. lemon juice and a little salt. Put aside.
- Add 6tbs. flour to 6tbs. butter – cook, stir for two minutes. Then add 1/4tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
- Stir chicken broth into the flour-butter mixture. Stir ‘till smooth and thickened. Add sherry and heavy cream.
- Break spaghetti into thirds. Cook 7 minutes or so in boiling water or broth. Drain. (Gluten-free pasta may require longer cooking time.)
- Mix chicken, mushrooms, spaghetti, and sauce together in large bowl. If baking immediately: put in buttered 9”x13” baking dish. If freezing: put in foil-lined dish (or several smaller casserole dishes) and freeze double-wrapped.
- To serve: if frozen, defrost to room temperature. Top with 1cup+ of Parmesan cheese, paprika. Bake at 350º for 30-45 minutes.
Here are a few photos of the process and final product…