Kay’s Oven Chicken

“Piano Teacher’s Chicken,” “Working Woman’s Chicken” or “Sherried Chicken.” We have called it by all these names for over 40 years, but it is really “Kay’s Oven Chicken” because Jerri got this simple recipe from her friend and fellow teacher, Kay, at the recipe shower they gave for her before she threw in her lot with me.

I have eaten this delicious chicken dish at least 400 times because it was something she could get ready before her piano students showed up after school, then duck out between lessons to pop the casserole in the oven. Hence the name, “Piano Teacher’s Chicken.” Incidentally, she didn’t keep making it because it was so easy, but also because I kept complimenting her on how good it was.

“Working Woman’s Chicken” comes from the fact that Jerri pointed out that any woman who was expected to work and cook for her family would find this a wonderful recipe. She could come home from work, turn on the oven, dump the five ingredients into the casserole and put it in the oven, After relaxing half an hour (or doing the breakfast dishes and starting a load of laundry) she could put the rice on. Voilá! A gourmet dinner!

If you don’t count the rice and water, there are only four ingredients. What could be simpler? Boiled eggs, of course. Only one ingredient, but also a lot fewer happy people around the dinner table.

Kay’s Oven Chicken is easy, foolproof and delicious. Give it a try.


4 chicken breasts
1/2 package dried onion soup
1/2 cup dry or semi-dry sherry wine
1 small can mushrooms
1/4 cup water


Preheat the oven to 350º. Put the chicken in a two to three quart covered casserole. Drain the mushrooms and spread them over the chicken. Sprinkle on the onion soup, then drizzle the sherry and water over the soup and chicken.

Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours (longer if you are teaching slow students).

Serve over white, brown or mixed wild rice.

NOTES: Bone-in or boneless chicken breasts work equally well. Buy a bottle of good sherry wine for this recipe. Don’t use “cooking sherry.” Cooking sherry is simply really cheap sherry with salt added. If you don’t want your teetotalling in-laws to find the bottle of sherry you use for cooking, hide it in your bedroom.

Both cooking sherry and regular sherry have alcohol which boils away during cooking. Contrary to the old song, one little bite of this chicken will not turn you into a bum. It may, however, turn you into someone addicted to Kay’s Oven Chicken.

Jerri and I don’t agree, but I suggest that you thicken the sauce slightly with a tablespoon of corn starch dissolved in two tablespoons of water. It’s your choice.

Here is where you can find two other great recipes Jerri got from her friends at that shower:

Carole’s Tuna Casserole

Kathy’s Kidney Bean Salad

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