Chicken and Artichoke Casserole

Poppy Seed Chicken is a favorite casserole in the Augusta, Georgia-area, where I reside. The combination of diced chicken, sour cream and cream of chicken soup topped with buttery crumbled Ritz crackers and poppy seeds is the area’s "it" casserole for neighborhood potlucks, or as a gift of food for those returning for a hospital stay.

The recipe becomes Chicken and Artichoke Casserole, an elegant dish for a buffet dinner or ladies luncheon, when the sauce gets a touch of lemon juice, white wine and curry powder, and artichoke hearts are added. Cheddar cheese is used, along with melted butter and the crushed buttery round crackers, for a decadent topping.

Perfect served alongside white rice cooked in chicken broth, all you need to complete your menu are yeast rolls and a tossed salad. Mixed greens tossed with sliced fresh strawberries and mushrooms, toasted pecans and chopped green onions and sweet and sour vinaigrette is the perfect complement.

  • 2 cans Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup white wine, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast meat
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained well and diced
  • 1 sleeve round buttery crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine soup, sour cream, lemon juice, white wine, curry powder and white pepper. Fold in chicken and artichoke hearts and spread mixture in prepared baking dish. (Dish can be covered tightly and refrigerated up to one day before baking.)

In a medium bowl, combine crushed crackers and melted butter. Stir in cheese and sprinkle mixture evenly over chicken and artichoke mixture. (If preparing casserole ahead, reserve crumbs/cheese mixture in a zip-top plastic bag. Sprinkle over casserole just before baking.) Bake for 30 minutes, until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.