If you ever cook from scratch, and I mean really from scratch - no cream of x soup or bisquick, you must be able to make a good roux. A good roux is the secret weapon of almost anything creamy. gravy, sauces, soups...
In case you don't know, a roux is a mixture of equal parts flour and fat. First you put the fat of your choice (butter or meat drippings work best) in a pan over heat until melted, hot and browned to the level you desire. Secondly you slowly add the flour a little at a time while whisking. Picky cooks sift the flour first to "ensure" a smooth end product. Since I'm not that picky, I just whisk ferociously. After the flour and fat form a cohesive mixture slowly add in your liquid of choice, usually broth or milk. Again, add slowly, a little at a time whisking vigorously and checking for consistency. Tada!
Anyway, this is an important element of my cream soup makeover dishes. The hardest thing is the one can each of mushroom and chicken cream soups, but I found a solution!
Chicken and Rice Casserole
mushrooms diced (1 can of sliced canned or 4 fresh ones
*2+ Tbs rendered chicken fat (I used the stuff that was on my chicken broth after refrigerating it)
*2+ Tbs flour (white flour is best- one of the only uses for white flour in my house)
*1 1/4+ c chicken broth
*1 1/4+ c milk
*1/2+ tsp poultry seasoning
*salt and pepper to taste2 1/2 c cooked brown rice
6 hard boiled eggs diced
2 cans sliced water chestnuts
2 c cooked diced chicken
1c mayo (sour cream would work if you are opposed to mayo)
1/2-1 loaf crumbled bread
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter (I usually skimp here.
1. Warm the chicken fat in a skillet while dicing mushrooms. Saute mushrooms in skillet for a while. Spoon out shrooms with a slotted spoon leaving as much fat as possible. Put shrooms in 9x13 or bowl. (I mix the ingredients in my 9x13- no need to dirty another dish. )
2. Make roux. Add stock first, then milk. when creamy gravy sauce thing reaches consistency add seasonings. Salt and pepper liberally since you aren't adding cream soups.
3. Mix rice, chicken, mayo, diced eggs, water chestnuts, and sauce in 9x13 with shrooms till thoroughly mixed.
4. While melting butter, crumble bread into a bowl. Pour butter over and toss till well coated. Pour over rest of casserole.- If you are lazy or don't have the bread, breadcrumbs will work in a pinch.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or thoroughly warmed and bread is crisp.