I can remember distinctly the first time I had Hawaiian Haystacks as a child. We were visiting some extended family in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada and Hawaiian Haystacks were served at the pot luck after church. I was intrigued and completely sold. I thought they were wonderful.
Fast forward to my adulthood, and I had gone my entire life without ever making Hawaiian Haystacks for myself. One of the reasons for this, I think, is that the sauce is typically made with a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. There's nothing wrong with a can of condensed soup--in fact, I'm pretty sure it was a pantry staple before moving abroad--but it's unsettling when a can of processed soup is the main ingredient in a meal. And, of course, it's not a food item I've found outside of the US.
Recently, I found a recipe for homemade Hawaiian Haystacks and had to give it a try. I am completely serious when I say that you'll never want the canned sauce again! This chicken sauce is so much better! And (bonus!) it's guaranteed to be healthier.
Homemade Hawaiian Haystacks
(adapted from My Kitchen Cafe)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
½ onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ curry powder (optional)
1) In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat; add the onion and raw chicken. Saute the onion and chicken until the onions are soft and translucent and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute, stirring, until fragrant.
2) Sprinkle the flour over the onions and chicken and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly.
3) Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat.
4) Add the salt and pepper and curry powder, if using. Continue simmering, stirring the sauce frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve the chicken sauce over rice with a variety of toppings, such as sliced olives, diced tomatoes, pineapple, shredded cheese, green onions, slivered almond, toasted coconut, mandarin oranges, steamed broccoli, diced bell pepper, diced celery, or chow mein noodles, etc. Enjoy!