116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Is there anything more comforting than a casserole?
Midwesterners have claimed this subgenre of culinary masterpieces for so long that is hard to categorize any dish developed outside the Midwest as such.
However, today’s recipe, “galinha arrepiada” is just that. A creamy and delicious chicken casserole, whose name loosely translates to “a chicken without goosebumps.”
Topped with a mound of crunchy shoestring potatoes, this dish is named for its final look, which resembles a chicken’s crazy feathers … Something that might happen if chickens could actually get goosebumps.
This recipe uses “requeijao,” a Brazilian cream cheese with a mild flavor and a more liquid texture than its American counterpart. It is typically used as a spread or topping. I don’t think it is possible to spend a single day in Brazil without eating requeijao.
There is no requeijao in the States but, as I have come to find, blending cream cheese with milk can get you pretty close.
Regardless of the creamy cheese variety you use, this recipe is a perfect example of Brazilian comfort food. It is topped with shoestring potatoes, which are a staple in Brazilian kitchens everywhere, for an extra crunch.
I first tasted this dish during my latest trip to Brazil, when I had anything but goosebumps, at my grandparents’ beach house after a morning in the sand and surf.
My aunt Patricia had taken over lunch duty that day and when she emerged from the kitchen with this deliciously decadent meal, I just knew I had to have the recipe and share it.
Follow Alexandra Olsen on Instagram, @TheHungryGaucha.
1 block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 cup short-grain white rice (Arborio rice is a great option)
Olive oil to taste
1 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds of chicken, thighs or breast, cubed
1 can (15 ounces) of tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese
Shoestring potatoes, as topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First, you will need to make your substitute “requeijao.” Add the block of cream cheese and milk to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and set aside for later.
Cook rice in a saucepan according to package instructions, taking it off the heat about two minutes before the package suggests.
In a skillet or frying pan, drizzle olive oil and saute onion until soft and translucent then add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Next you will sear your chicken in the same pan. Be sure to season your chicken with salt and pepper before searing. Your chicken should be seared on all sides. It is OK if it is not fully cooked through just yet.
In a large baking dish, combine the requeijao you made, cooked rice, onion, garlic, chicken, tomato sauce and shredded cheese. Mix well to combine.
Top this with more shredded cheese to your liking and bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes — until the rice and chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.
Before serving, generously top with shoestring potatoes.
Source: Adapted by Alexandra Olsen