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Classic Chicken Tetrazzini

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A great dish to make for a crowd, this chicken tetrazzini can be made in advance and refrigerated until 1 hour before serving time. It's a great potluck dish, or make it for a big family get together.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 3 pounds chicken legs quarters with thighs
  • 3 celery tops
  • a few sprigs parsley
  • 2 medium carrots, washed and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • .
  • Sauce
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • .
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) drained whole mushrooms, or 12 to 16 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter
  • 16 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preparation:

Wash chicken; place in a large Dutch oven or kettle with 3 cups water, the celery tops, parsley, carrots, quartered onion, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 1 hour, until tender. With a slotted spoon remove chicken to a bowl and set aside to cool. Strain the broth and return to the kettle. Bring to a boil and boil gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Broth should be reduced to about 2 cups.

Remove chicken from bones and dice, discarding skin and bones. There should be about 6 cups of diced chicken. Set aside.

For sauce, melt 3/4 cup butter in a large saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth and well blended. Return to medium heat. Gradually add milk and the 2 cups of reduced broth, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Beat egg yolks in a small bowl with the cream. Whisk in a little of the hot mixture from the saucepan, then return the egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until sauce is hot. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in sherry.

Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water in a large pot following package directions; drain and rinse under hot water. Return spaghetti to the pot. Add 2 cups of the sauce to the spaghetti toss to coat well. Remove another 2 cups of sauce; place in refrigerator. To the remaining sauce, add the chicken and mushrooms.

Divide spaghetti into 2 8-inch square baking dishes, making a well in center. Spoon half of the chicken and mushroom mixture into center of each,. Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded cheese over spaghetti in each dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate. About 1 hour before serving, preheat oven to 350°. Bake foil covered casseroles for 30 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Just before serving heat the reserved sauce and spoon over the spaghetti in baking dishes.
Serves 12.

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