Stale bread or buns, sliced or torn into rough ¾ inch pieces (sufficient to mostly fill your baking vessel)
1 to 1.5 cups diced chicken (dark meat is my preference, but it does not matter)
One carrot, peeled and sliced thin
One onion, diced
One large stalk celery, halved lengthwise and then diced
One handful diced green pepper
(Optional) One large handful sliced mushrooms
Any other vegetable you desire (if peas, do not saute with the others)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 loose cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, or provolone)
1 cup chicken broth (plus more as needed)
1 cup half and half (plus more as needed
1 or 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
(Optional) 1 or 2 splashes sriracha sauce
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, minced (do not be shy on the amount) (Simon and Garfunkel, right?)
Salt and pepper
Butter for sautéing and for dotting the casserole
Spray grease your cooking vessel. (a loaf pan works great)
Saute the vegetables in butter on medium low heat until the onion turns translucent and the remainder begins to soften.
Add the garlic and saute one more minute.
In a large bowl mix the bread, the chicken, the cheese, the herbs, and the vegetables
Salt and pepper the mix and turn the mix out into the cooking vessel. Do not pack down.
Crack the eggs into the same bowl and beat them lightly. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the broth and the half and half plus the Worcestershire sauce and sriracha if using. Mix well until uniform in color
Pour the custard over the bread until it almost covers the bread mixture. If more liquid is needed, mix chicken broth and half and half in equal proportions to supplement.
Cover the vessel with cling film and refrigerate 1 to 24 hours for the custard to infuse the bread.
Preheat the oven to 350. Set the rack to low middle.
Remove the casserole from the refrigerator, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and dot the surface with butter. Place the casserole on a sheet pan and put it in the oven. Bake 50 minutes or until the custard sets.
Note: Leftovers reheat quickly in the microwave.