Do you have those foods or meals that your family used to make – maybe your mom or dad or your grandmother – that when you smell that food or meal today it literally transports you back to when you were little?
This casserole is that for me. To this day, it is what my mom makes for me when we get to celebrate my birthday together. It is my request EVERY time I go home! It is creamy and luscious and warm and bubbly and honestly? Really clean, as far as casseroles go.
When most people think of casseroles I would bet that they think of those heavy, canned soup-based, super cheesy (but like, Velveeta cheese – you know what I’m sayin?), carb-loaded, slop it on a plate, mom didn’t have time for anything else tonight kind of meal. Not this one. It has been re-invented my friends and you will feel ALL the love when you eat it!
I hope you make this just so you can taste a little of my childhood. I’ve re-done it, in that it is made completely from scratch – no canned soup; and instead of packaged, processed cheese, I used a raw goat cheddar. If you omit the cheese and use almond flour instead of sourdough, it is completely Paleo and Whole30.
It’s hard to re-do something your mom made. But man, this came out of the oven and I took that first bite and literally would’ve believed you if you told me my mom had made it and she was sitting right there with me – I could SMELL the house I grew up in. It will be so much fun to make this for her next time we ARE together.
I hope you enjoy this little piece of my childhood!
Primal Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Makes a 9×13 casserole…
- 2 ½ – 3lbs free range, boneless, skinless chicken breast
- approx. 1 tsp paprika
- 4 medium heads broccoli, chopped into florets
- 1 cup finely chopped baby portobello mushrooms
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Kerrygold grass fed butter or coconut oil, divided
- ¼ cup arrowroot flour
- 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or full fat)
- ½ – ¾ cup low sodium vegetable or free-range chicken broth or chicken bone broth
- sea salt and black pepper
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayonnaise
- zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 1 cup grated raw goat cheddar cheese, Kerrygold grass fed cheddar or Grafton raw cheddar
- ¾ cup almond flour or sourdough breadcrumbs
- Optional: fresh chives, cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cover a medium sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts on the pan and season with sea salt, black pepper and a dash of paprika over each chicken breast. Place on the middle rack of your oven to roast – approx. 20-30 minutes – until a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 155-160 degrees (the chicken will continue cooking as it rests and again when you finish the casserole in the oven…). Pull out of the oven and set aside.
- While the chicken is roasting, cover a large sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place broccoli onto pan, toss with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and place on the top rack of your oven to roast until slightly browned – approx. 15-18 minutes, until slightly roasted and softened. Pull out of the oven and set aside. *Okay to add this to the oven while the chicken is roasting.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until softened, about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer mushrooms to the pan with the broccoli.
- In the same saucepan, melt the other tbsp of butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Whisk in the coconut milk and broth – start by adding ½ cup broth, if you need to add more to thin out the sauce per your liking, feel free. Once combined, whisk in the arrowroot flour, whisking constantly for 30 seconds until smooth. Bring to a low simmer and continue to whisk constantly until thickened – 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, curry, mayo, lemon zest and juice. Set aside.
- Now, shred the chicken and place into a large bowl. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and onions.
- Pour the sauce into the bowl with the broccoli mixture and add ½ cup almond flour or sourdough breadcrumbs and ½ of the cheese. Toss well to combine. I suggest using your hands for this! Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Top with remaining almond flour/sourdough and cheese.
- Bake for approx. 30 minutes, until filling is hot and bubbly. Check after 20 minutes and cover with foil if topping is browning too quickly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh chives, cilantro or parsley, if using and serve on it’s own or with roasted cauliflower rice (pictured above).