Including the fresh vegetables we grew in our summer garden, Beth and I were raised on basic foods: meat, potatoes, white rice, and gravy. That pretty much covers every meal you’d ever need. My mama was serving up the dishes that her mama, Lizzie, taught her to make. I think we were all slow to try new things, because we knew what we liked, and we didn’t change things that much. This dish is the first “new” recipe I remember trying that had wild rice in it. I thought I was doing something crazy by eating wild rice! This dish has now become a regular at my dinner table. I love to take this casserole to parties or church suppers.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 × 13 × 2-inch casserole dish.
If you use fresh mushrooms, sauté them in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and reserve the juice.
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the remaining butter until tender. Stir in the flour, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Combine the mushroom juice with enough broth to make 3 cups of liquid. Slowly stir the juice-broth mixture into the onion mixture. Stir in the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture is thickened. Add the sautéed or canned mushrooms, the chicken, rice, toasted almonds, pimiento, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.