Potato and Chicken Casserole – Картофельная Запеканка с Курицей По-Французски

Potato Chicken Casserole (500x334) It was a sunny, June afternoon. We had all my things that I had accumulated as a single gal, plus all the wedding gifts that we’d gotten packed into the car. My childhood home was warm and inviting as usual, filled with conversations and comfortable sounds. I was about to leave the only home I had even known and my family to start my new life as a married woman. It was a bittersweet day – I had married the most wonderful guy on earth (of this I am 100% sure!) but we all knew that I would be miles away, 1335 miles, to be exact.

Life changing moments like this have a way of being stamped in our memories. I remember the feelings, the sounds and the smells. The aroma of the Potato Chicken Casserole wafting from the kitchen throughout the whole house. I don’t think I ate much, since I usually lose my appetite when I’m nervous or emotional.

I remember hugging everyone good bye, Mom starting to cry, Dad getting choked up as we all prayed together. Every time I looked at my siblings I had these terrifying thoughts  playing in my mind – “I’m going to be the sister that lives far away and nobody really knows”, “I won’t get to see them grow up”, “they’re going to change so much”. I’ll never forget driving down the long driveway, and crying for miles, Sergi quietly holding my hand. Emotional, huh? I’m not even the emotional type:).

This is my favorite casserole. It beats Lasagna any day, in my opinion. It may not be pretty to look at, but it sure is tasty. It’s the character that counts anyway, right?

We’ve been making this in our family for years, and still love it just as much. It tastes very Russian:). Unlike most casseroles that I’ve eaten, this one doesn’t taste too heavy, but is still a hearty one dish meal. You have your potatoes and meat in one pan. The potatoes are tender and flavorful, but still hold their shape. The chicken is the crowning glory on top of the potatoes, and since we use chicken thighs, it’s so juicy and moist. For a crispy, golden crust, the chicken is spread with a bit of mayo and cheese.

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 lbs potatoes, Yukon gold (about 6 medium)

1 onion

1 carrot

1/2 tablespoon butter or oil

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cup half n half

salt, pepper, chicken seasoning

thyme

8-10 chicken thighs

3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2  - 2 cups mozzarella cheese

1/4 – 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Peel and cut the potatoes into long and thin rectangular sticks, about 1/4 inches thick.

Yukon Gold potatoes keep their shape really well. Russet potatoes will fall apart and become mushy.

I usually cut the potato in half, cut each half into 1/4 inch parallel slices, lengthwise, and then cut through the stack, making parallel 1/4 inch cuts.

It’s pretty important to cut the potatoes thinly, or they will take much longer to cook.

Finely chop the onion, and peel and finely shred the carrot on a box grater. Melt 1/2 Tablespoon of butter in a skillet, add the onion and carrot, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until they are soft. Add to the potatoes. Mix together, seasoning with salt, pepper, Montreal chicken seasoning, if using, and thyme. Place all of this into a 13×9 inch casserole dish. Meanwhile, prep the chicken thighs. Remove the bone, skin and cut out all the grease that you possibly can. I have a tutorial on how to debone chicken thighs. Follow that tutorial and remove the skin also.

Season on both sides with salt, pepper and Montreal Chicken Seasoning, if using.

Heat the half n half until it’s almost boiling. Pour over the potatoes. It should barely cover the potatoes, but still not come to the top. Place the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes.

By the way, you can use pork instead of the chicken. Cut country style pork ribs into thin pieces, pound each cutlet into thin, uniform pieces, season and place on top of the potatoes. You can also use sausage. I usually brown the sausage first, though.

I would NOT recommend using chicken breast in this recipe. Chicken breast cooks very quickly and 1 1/2 – 2 hours in the oven will make it as dry as leather.

Quick tip: To make this even more Russian, top the meat with a layer of thinly sliced onions before spreading it with mayonnaise and cheese. You can also place the onions underneath the chicken, instead of on top of the meat.

Thinly spread the mayonnaise on the chicken thighs and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

To keep the cheese from sticking to the foil, spray it with oil first. (PAM, etc. or spread some oil with a napkin or paper towel, or you hand). This is a good trick to keep in mind when making anything that’s topped with cheese, such as lasagna.

Bake for 1 1/2 -2 hours at 350 degrees, until the potatoes are cooked through. Take off the foil in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking so you can brown the cheese. You can even broil it, if you’d like for just  a few minutes. Keep an eye on it though. It tends to burn to a crisp while your back is turned. The second that you step out of the kitchen or start washing dishes, POOF, it’s all black!

(Here’s how you can salvage it though. Scrape off the burned cheese, top with some fresh cheese and back into the oven it goes, with you staring intently into the oven window this time. Almost no harm done.)

Yum! Serve with pickles, Garlicky Green Beans, Tomato Salad or Crunchy Cabbage Cucumber Salad. This dish heats up really well as a leftover too. Potato Chicken Casserole 2 (500x334)

Potato Chicken Casserole (500x334)

Potato and Chicken Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs potatoes, Yukon gold (about 6 medium)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1½ - 1¾ cup half n half
  • salt, pepper, chicken seasoning
  • thyme
  • 8-10 chicken thighs
  • 3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1½ - 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into long and thin rectangular sticks, about ¼ inches thick.
  2. Finely chop the onion, and peel and finely shred the carrot on a box grater. Melt ½ Tablespoon of butter in a skillet, add the onion and carrot, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until they are soft.
  3. Add the carrots and onion to the potatoes. Mix together, seasoning with salt, pepper, Montreal chicken seasoning, if using, and thyme. Place all of this into a 13x9 inch casserole dish.
  4. Meanwhile, prep the chicken thighs. Remove the bone, skin and cut out all the grease that you possibly can.
  5. Season on both sides with salt, pepper and Montreal Chicken Seasoning, if using.
  6. Heat the half n half until it's almost boiling. Pour over the potatoes. It should barely cover the potatoes, but still not come to the top.
  7. Place the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes.
  8. Thinly spread the mayonnaise on the chicken thighs and sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil.
  10. Bake for 1½ -2 hours at 350 degrees, until the potatoes are cooked through.

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Comments

  1. Natasha Y says

    This is my favorite potato and chicken dish! Though, I make it slightly different. Brings a lot of memories too.

  2. Victoria says

    Olga, first of all,let me say that i absolutely looove your website. I don’t even know what dish to.start with:) you are so young, but cook like a professional cook!!!! Nice job.
    Can’t not to write my second thought. I read your hearbreaking story about what happened to you back in 2007. I actually was reading your story in my hospital bed, recovering after my delivery. A am terribly sorry for your loss:( but I am happy that God healed you and you are sharing how great He is with other people.
    Finally, may the Lord bless you and your husband that you have made a strong decision to adopt two children. He will give you wisdom, love and patience to raise up those children. Just serve Him with all your heart.
    Sorry, for such a.long message . But I needed to share these with you. God bless:-)

    • says

      Awww…. Thank you, Victoria! What a sweet message! I savored every word:).
      God has definitely blessed me SO much, and I will be thankful forever. Once in a while I don’t feel good and it’s such a great reminder of how far I’ve come and what a blessing it is to be alive and healthy.
      Thanks for your encouraging words. My husband and I are very excited to be parents!

  3. Ilona says

    The evening before you posted this recipe i left some chicken thighs to unthaw overnight and next morning i was wondering what to cook with them. So when i check your website i see this recipe and thought “wonder no more” lol. This recipe is a keeper. My whole family loved it. Easy to make and very delicious. Thanks

  4. Kristy says

    Hey Olya I want to try this recipe out but instead of half and half can i use chicken broth? Or does the half and half add some special yummy flavor that chicken broth won’t?

    • says

      Hi Kristy,
      Great question. When you cook the potatoes in half n half, they have a creamy, yummy taste. I personally don’t like the flavor of the potatoes cooked in chicken broth. They taste funny to me,absolutely on the bland side, but I know there are a lot of recipes that use chicken broth to cook potatoes in. It’s up to you. If you’re trying to cut down on calories, I would substitute milk for the half n half. It will be a little watery, but so will the chicken broth version. The flavor will be better though.

    • says

      Hi Inna,
      Thanks for telling me. It’s so awesome hearing that others enjoyed some of our favorite recipes too:). (My Sergi LOVES this dinner.)

  5. oksana says

    Hi Olga love your blog is so easy to make food with all those pictures Thank you. I was just wondering can i use a chicken breast for this recipe?

    • says

      Hi Oksana,
      Thank you!
      I wouldn’t recommend using chicken breast, because it dries out too quickly. Baking it for 1 1/2-2 hours will make the chicken way too dry.

  6. Vita says

    Hello! I made the casserole last night! I have to say, it is my new favorite dish! My whole family absolutely loooved it! The kids (all 3 of them) asked for seconds! They are super picky eaters so that almost never happens! We ate more then half of it last night and i ate the rest of it for lunch AND dinner today :)! Thank you! It was AMAZING!!!

    • says

      Hi Vita,
      I’m so happy to hear that! This is one of my favorite dishes too. I’m so glad your family enjoyed it. I also make a large casserole every time I make it so we can have leftovers.

  7. Sarah says

    Hey Olga
    I made this tonight. It was really good! However, I think the carrots made it get really really watery. I had to dump out the carrot water (if that makes any sense). How can this be avoided? Do you think I added too much carrot or I didn’t cook it long enough with the onion?

    • says

      Hi Sarah,
      I’ve been making this casserole for years and have never had “carrot water”. I don’t think it’s because you didn’t cook it long enough with the onions, since many times I put in the onion and carrots completely raw into the casserole. The only thing I can think of is that you added too much liquid. It shouldn’t cover the potatoes completely, but just a bit more than halfway.

  8. Pierre says

    Thank you… I am home in Kentucky for a project for my company. I have been living in SW France for the last 13 years. I have tried eating my sister in law and brothers cooking, and on occaion tried cooking wholesome meals for them(french cuisine) they don’t care for it much. Me… personally, I got tired of eating everything that made (mostly from a box or a can) I don’t know, maybe I am a bit spoiled. It’s refreshing to see that there are people who still take the time to cook. I have found that there is still one truth in my family. They like meat and potato’s. Great recipe! Goes great with Pinot Grigio…

    Merci!

  9. oksana says

    Hi i made this dish just the other night. It was delicious!! My hubby and I really enjoyed:) It was nice and creamy:) Thanx for sharing!! God Bless You.

  10. Nina says

    Hi, Olga,
    First of all I want to say BIG THANKS for this wonderful recipe. I spend exactly 30 min to prepare it in the morning (before church) put in the oven and when we come back it was ready. Potatoes were not so soft like I love and I’d like to give one tip for you. Boil your cut potatoes for approximately 3 min( you can do it in half n half or just use water) and then combine it with onion and carrot. It’s became so soft and you safe time in baking.
    PS. Your recipe is better then mine. Definetely I will cook it in your way.

    LOVE YOUR WEBSITE. :)

    • says

      Thanks, Nina! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      I do precook potatoes for many of my recipes, but I like to avoid an extra step in this one. My potatoes are always soft though. Here are a few things that help. 1. Did you use Yukon Gold potatoes? Different types of potatoes will cook differently. I have found that Yukon Gold potatoes work best in this recipe.
      2. Did you cut the potatoes thin enough? I cut them much thinner than most recipes I’ve seen. Cutting them really thin cuts down the cooking time quite a bit.
      3. The the half n half before pouring it over the potatoes. I actually timed it once, and the cooking time was cut down by almost an HOUR! I was really impressed.
      Of course, you can precook the potatoes if you’d like. This is one of the meals that I like to cut down the number of steps as much as possible.
      One other idea is to cook the onion and carrots in a large pot and when they soften, add the potatoes and half n half, precook for a few minutes and transfer to a baking dish. That way, you kind of combine the steps.

  11. Sveta says

    Hi Olga!
    This looks absolutely delicious!! Quick question for you. Do you think using heavy cream would work as well as half of half?

  12. anna says

    Made this tonight, it was delish! i was worried potatoes would get mushy since i used russet potatoes but it came out wonderful! thank you.

  13. Elena says

    Hi Olya,
    I discovered your blog last week and have tried 3 of your recipes already, including this one :) I made it with pork, cause that’s what I had in my freezer. It was so yummy! My hubby was very happy too, he said “it was fantastic!” ;)
    Ты молодец! So young and so gifted! God bless you and your family.

    • says

      Thanks for such a sweet comment, Elena! I’m glad you and your family enjoyed the casserole. It’s one of the top recipes that I make, since everyone in my family loves it so much.

  14. Anna Maria says

    I made this for dinner last night. I don’t know what I did wrong! I followed the recipe exactly & the 1/2&1/2 curdled & it wasn’t as creamy as I thought it would be. It was certainly rich, maybe too rich for my & my husbands tummies… That won’t stop me from trying more of your recipes!

    • says

      I’m sorry you were disappointed in the recipe, Anna Maria. I guess everyone has different tastes. I haven’t run into the problem of curdling.
      I didn’t intend for this casserole to be creamy. If you’re looking for a creamy potato casserole, you will need to use heavy creamy. Or try my recipe for Scalloped Potatoes.

  15. Liliya says

    I have been meaning to try this and am I glad I did! I added some shredded red bell pepper just because I happened to have some in the fridge and that added an amazing aroma and taste (if you like bell peppers, that is). Paired with some sauerkraut= perfect comfort food!

    • says

      That’s awesome, Liliya! I’m glad you enjoyed the dish. Bell peppers and potatoes are a great combination. Sauerkraut is definitely a great side dish to pair with the potatoes too:).

  16. Tanya K. says

    This is one of my family’s favorite! So delicious, filling and light. And very easy to make! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    I just love how you share a little bit about yourself before each recipe. You are a terrific story teller! (You should really consider writing a book some day :))

    • says

      Thanks for taking the time to write, Tanya. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the casserole and that you like my stories:).

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