Sounds kinda gross, right? Well it's not. It is fantastic, delicious, cheap, hearty and easy to make. I make creamed chicken as a base for chicken tetrazzini, chicken pot pie, chicken and rice casserole, chicken and broccoli ... you get the idea. Anything bubbly and warm that has chicken in it! Also, this recipe is a substitute for all those white and red Cream of ______ soup concentrates at the grocery store. They are loaded with lots of things I can't pronounce. Yuck. And really, what on earth has that consistency? It's a little frightening! I stopped buying them quite awhile ago.
I'm terrible at writing out recipes because I rarely measure anything. But here goes:
Put your desired amount of chicken in a pan and cover with water. You can use bone-in or boneless. Our family of 5 big eaters is well fed with 2-3 pieces of chicken. (That is where the cheap comes in to play!) Sometimes I add celery, onions and garlic to the water. Sometimes I don't. Let this simmer until the water is looking chicken broth-like and the chicken is cooked all the way through. I'm guessing this takes around 30-45 minutes. If you are starting with frozen chicken, figure on an hour. Leave the pot uncovered and the heat on medium-medium high.
Remove the chicken, and pour cooking water into a big bowl. If you added veggies, strain them out. Set aside.
Put the pan back on the heat and add some oil. You can use coconut, extra-virgin, canola, etc. Saute some diced onions and garlic. While this is cooking, dice the cooked chicken. Add to pan. Sometimes I add my seasonings during this step. I always add some poultry seasoning, salt and pepper now. Mix it through.
This is the part that takes a little practice. Or a real recipe. :-) Sprinkle flour over the onion-garlic-chicken mixture. I usually use about two heaping serving spoons of flour. Mix this thoroughly until the flour takes on a nice light brown color and it's sticking to the veggies. If you need a splash more oil to get everything incorporated, go for it. You want the chicken and veggies to have a coating of light brown flour but nothing should smell burned. Keep the heat on medium.
Now start slowly adding in the reserved cooking water. It should still be warm so this will work together fast. Add it slowly. Very. Slowly. A couple of cups at a time. Don't stop stirring until everything is thick and bubbly. I have a pan like this and when I get all the broth in there, thickened with veggies it comes close to filling the pan. If you run out of broth, use milk. Turn down on low and let this simmer.
What are you going to make?
Chicken tetrazzini? Flavor with some poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, parsley and cheese. Mix with a pound of cooked pasta. Pour into casserole dish and bake until crusty on top and bubbly.
Chicken pot pie? Add some frozen veggies, poultry seasoning, s&p according to taste. Let bubble while you make a biscuit topping. Pour into casserole dish, top with biscuit dough, bake.
Chicken and broccoli? I think you have the idea by now. This is an easy, affordable way to feed a hungry crowd something hearty. So try it! Don't forget to taste your creamed chicken mixture for seasoning. Especially if you're used to the condensed soups, this is much less salty. You'll want to make sure it's not too bland for you.