I have opened my next unofficial business: Phoebe’s Cozy Casserole Kitchen. It is a free subscription service that currently only has one customer, my friend who recently broke her hip.
For the first two installments, I reached into my usual bag of tricks, beginning with this Provencal Chicken and Rice Casserole—a perpetual crowd pleaser—and following it up with Not-Your-Grandmother’s Tuna Noodle Casserole.
Since both were such slam dunks, I knew I had to follow them up with something extra special. I thought of dipping back into the archives and resurrecting this coconut-y Thai chicken casserole inspired by Tom Kha Gai soup. But that’s when the creative inspiration struck: what if I did a similar combination of Thai ingredients—coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, chiles—but also layered in some peanut butter to make the rice taste like it was cooked in satay sauce.
And that, my friends, is how this Chicken Satay Casserole was born. It might just be my masterpiece.
First, let’s acclimate ourselves regionally before we bring Southeast Asia to the Midwest.
Satay (or Sate, depending on where you are) is a ubiquitous street food in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia (where it is said to have originated), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. It usually consists of sliced or cubed meat strung onto skewers, marinated in spices, particularly turmeric to give it a signature yellow hue, and served with pickled relish and/or peanut sauce.
Obviously, we have deconstructed the concept of a satay for this casserole, eliminating the skewers altogether and using the Thai-style peanut sauce not for dipping, but as a whole creamy layer to slather your chicken in.
Though marinating the chicken in a mixture of ground turmeric, ginger, coriander and lime juice, might seem like an unnecessary extra step—and certainly one I’m used to skipping when making a dump and stir casserole—it’s really worth it if you’re used to the rich flavor of the meat that you get when ordering satay at a restaurant.
The ingredient list might seem long, but it’s all pantry staples that just get whisked together and thrown into a baking dish. Don’t skimp on the crunchy cucumbers as garnish. Along with some fresh herbs (cilantro if you have any around) or green scallions, they help cut the richness of the peanut butter broth. You can even toss them together with some rice vinegar to create a quick pickle.
This recipe can also easily be made low FODMAP if you follow the notes below.
If you’re looking for a make ahead crowd-pleaser that’s just as easy as takeout, this chicken satay casserole is your ticket. Unfortunately, you will be stuck making it yourself until Phoebe’s Cozy Casserole Kitchen gets scaled beyond just one non-paying costumer.
With health and hedonism,
Chicken Satay Casserole with Thai Peanut Sauce and Rice
- For the casserole:
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice from one lime
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- One 14 ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 small red Thai chile thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 cup arborio or bomba rice though any short grain white rice will work
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- For the chicken:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice from one lime
- For garnish:
- 2 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, fish sauce, tamari, vinegar, lime juice, and maple syrup. Add the coconut milk and water and continue whisking until well-combined. Fold in the white and light green scallions, ginger, chile (if using), rice, and sea salt. Transfer the whole mixture to a large (10-inch) oven-proof skillet or 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Make the chicken: To the same mixing bowl (it’s fine if some casserole mixture remains), combine the chicken, ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground ginger, salt, sriracha, oil and lime juice. Arrange the chicken on top of the peanut butter rice mixture in the skillet or baking dish.
- Bake the casserole for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with the sliced cucumbers and green scallions.