Chicken Fantastic is a comforting casserole combining chicken with wild rice, French-style green beans, water chestnuts, onions, pimentos, cream of celery soup and mayonnaise. Sour cream or Greek yogurt could be substituted for the mayonnaise if you prefer. This recipe for Chicken Fantastic comes from the Poplar Grove Plantation, pictured below.
A Few Words About Poplar Grove Plantation
Poplar Grove, formerly a sweet potato and peanut plantation, was in the Foy family for six generations, from 1795 to 1971. Located in Wilmington, North Carolina it opened as a museum in 1980.
The Manor House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the Manor House is a permanent exhibit “From Civil War to Civil Rights: The African American Experience at Poplar Grove.”
If you enjoy history, you may wish to visit their website at http://www.poplargrove.org or if you are ever near coastal North Carolina you may want to visit Poplar Grove Plantation.
The history of the Foy family is traced from ancestor Francis Foy, a native of Normandy, France who traveled to England from France to avoid persecution. Francis Foy indentured himself to gain passage to America.
Poplar Grove Plantation offers daily tours, candlelight tours during the holidays, basketweaving classes, venues for weddings and birthday parties and much more.
Chicken Fantastic Recipe
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon chopped pimentos
- 1 10-oz. package frozen French-cut green beans, thawed OR 1 15-oz. can French-style green beans, drained
- 1 8-oz. can chopped water chestnuts
- 3 cups wild rice, cooked (1 cup rice measured before cooking)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (OR sour cream OR Greek yogurt)
- 1 10-oz. can cream of celery soup
- 2 teaspoons celery seed
- In butter or olive oil, saute onion until transparent. Combine all ingredients and pour into a 12" x 8" x 2" greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes.
- Variations: Chopped nuts and/or grated cheese may be added to this dish. Quinoa may be used in place of wild rice. Other vegetables can be used instead of green beans. The original recipe specifies mayonnaise but I used Greek yogurt instead.
The original recipe for Chicken Fantastic listed mayonnaise as an ingredient but I substituted plain Greek yogurt in its place. I like crunchy foods so the next time I make Chicken Fantastic I plan to add some chopped nuts, perhaps sliced almonds to this dish. The water chestnuts add some nice crunch but nuts would give it even more crunch!
I love cheese so I sprinkled some grated cheese on top of this casserole when I took it out of the oven. It was a nice addition! Celery seed is a nice spice to add for more celery flavor, which I love in chicken salad. Other green vegetables could be used instead of green beans if you prefer.
In this recipe I used a wild and brown rice blend which I thought was excellent. One cup of rice, measured before cooking, makes enough rice for this casserole. Quinoa or other types of rice would be great too!
I have never visited Poplar Grove Plantation but I would like to, especially during the Christmas holidays when there are candlelight tours and other holiday events on the grounds. I have fond childhood memories of visiting the Horton Plantation in Wilmington in the spring when multitudes of azaleas and other flowers were in full bloom.
Try Poplar Grove Plantation’s Chicken Fantastic soon! It’s colors are definitely suited to this time of year with the red pimento and the green beans!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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