My mom used to make a dish she called her “Chinese Casserole.”  It was a chicken and rice casserole with Wild Rice Rice-A-Roni, green onions, mushrooms, chow mein noodles… It was about as authentically-Chinese as I am, but damn!  It was good.  It made a lot, so she only made it on those occasions where massive quantities of food were needed – and in our family, that could be fairly often!

Back in October when we were approaching the 10th Anniversary of her passing, I was playing with several of her recipes and thought I might make the Chinese Casserole as a bit of a tribute to her.  During one of my weekly shopping treks, I picked up two main ingredients – Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup and Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Neither item is on my weekly shopping list.  In fact, I really don’t know the last time I bought any condensed soups.  Only because I can be such an idiot sometimes, I actually toyed at one point with the idea of making my own soups, but quickly realized that even I couldn’t be that stupid.  Besides, this was supposed to be about Mom’s Chinese Casserole, not some Cooking Light Makeover. I bought the soups.

And then they sat on the shelf because, after looking at the recipe, I just didn’t have an occasion coming up where I needed a casserole for 16 people.  There’s really not an easy way to make it smaller (although, I suppose I could freeze it….) But I digress…

I didn’t make it and those two cans of soup have been sitting in the cupboard mocking me since October.

Tonight I decided to take control!

I sauteed a bit of onion and celery, added a bit of minced garlic, and then added sliced chicken breasts.  And then I pulled the pop-top off the can of Cream of Chicken Soup.  A pop-top!  How convenient!  Staring back at me was a mass of silk-smooth pudding-like substance.  It looked like banana pudding.  Really.

I broke out a bottle of sherry…

I added about a quarter-cup of sherry and let it cook down a bit before adding the gelatinous mass from the can.  Into the pan and then – because it seriously needed something – I added about a cup of homemade chicken stock from the other day.  I let it simmer away a bit and then added fresh asparagus.  When the asparagus was juuuuust about done, I pulled it from the heat, added a bit of salt and pepper -yes, it needed salt! – and over rice, it went.

All-in-all, it wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad.