This recipe was published in Southern Living 3 or 4 years ago, and it has become my "go to" recipe when I'm cooking for a friend that has a new baby. It makes a LOT of food. I take two 8 x 8 casseroles to the family I'm cooking for and there is still enough for me and James to have for dinner two nights.
6 lbs. chicken (I used a large package of breast and a large package of thighs & legs)
2 stalks of celery
1 onion quartered
2 (6 oz) packages long grain and wild rice mix (Like Uncle Ben's brand)
1/2 c and 1/4 butter, divided
16 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
8 oz sour cream
1 (10 & 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 sleeve round buttery crackers, crushed (like Ritz)
6 oz French fried onions, crushed
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Boil chicken with celery and the quartered onion. Add some salt and pepper to the water as well. If the chicken has bone, remove them after the chicken has cooked. Reserve your chicken broth and chop or shred cooked chicken.
Cook rice according to package directions substituting 4 1/4 cups chicken broth for water and omitting the butter. (Add water to broth to equal 4 1/2 cups, if necessary.)
Heat 1/2 cup butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and green onions. Saute 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, chicken, sour cream, and cream of mushroom soup. Spoon mixture into a 4 quart casserole dish.
stir together crushed crackers, fried onions, paprika, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the casserole. (If you want to freeze this to use later, STOP here. Cover the casserole securely with foil and freeze it.)
Bake, covered at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes more or until bubbly.