Cream of chicken soup is a favorite in casseroles because it adds both flavor and texture. Its mild flavor blends well with poultry, vegetables and cheese and creates a creamy base for the casserole. Canned cream of chicken soup is both economical and convenient, but it is not the only way to make a delicious creamy sauce for your casserole.
Other Creamed Soups
There are a host of creamed soups from cream of broccoli to cream celery and cream of mushroom. While the flavor differs from cream of chicken, the texture and creaminess is similar. Depending in the other ingredients in your casserole, you can substitute any creamed soup for cream of chicken soup. Some, like cream of broccoli or cream of celery soup, have a more intense flavor than cream of chicken and are best when you desire a broccoli or celery flavor. Cream of mushroom soup, however, blends well with meats, poultry and vegetables while adding mild flavor, making it a versatile base for casseroles.
You can also use a jar of Alfredo sauce in casseroles to create a creamy and flavorful base. Experiment with sun-dried tomato, garlic or mushroom Alfredo sauce to add flavor to the casserole. Alfredo sauce blends well with an assortment of vegetables, meats and poultry. It enhances the flavor of noodles or pasta and works well with rice. Because Alfredo sauce is typically thinner than creamed soups, you will need to adjust the liquids in the recipe accordingly.
Cheese and Dairy
Cheese sauces made with cream and melted cheese make a delicious base for casseroles. While it is common for cooks to use processed American cheese spread in casseroles, you can use other cheeses. Fresh Parmesan, cheddar or mozzarella enhance the flavor of meat and vegetables, while jarred cheese sauces work well with noodles and rice. You can use sour cream, cream cheese or ricotta to replace all or part of the cream of chicken soup in casseroles.
You can use a gravy mix or gravy in a jar and add this to a casserole to replace all, or part of the cream of chicken soup. Chicken, turkey or mushroom gravy work well with vegetables and poultry, while mushroom or beef works well with red meats and vegetables. Many gravy mixes are now in fats and provide a good alternative to creamed soups.
Making Creamed Soup Base
Making your own cream of chicken or other creamed soup by substituting broth for half of the milk or cream in a white sauce allows you to create the flavor you desire. You can buy a soup base or bouillon in a variety of flavors, from chicken or turkey to mushroom and vegetable. Mixing the base with water creates a flavorful broth that you can then use to make the creamed soup.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images