Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2 quart or 9x13 baking sheet.
Melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk in flour, chopped thyme, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute to cook off raw flour taste.
Slowly pour in wine and chicken broth whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling.
Reduce heat to medium low and then stir in 2 cups of cheese until melted. Turn off heat and stir in cooked rice and chicken.
Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.
If you don't have fresh thyme--do not worry!! It adds an extra layer of flavor that I enjoy but is completely not necessary. You can substitute ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves works as well. Do not use ground thyme. The flavor is overwhelming.
White wine adds a rich depth of flavor to this chicken and rice casserole, but is not necessary, just replace it with an additional ¼ cup of chicken stock.
This recipe has a lot of added garlic, feel free to cut the amount in half, if you are sensitive to high amounts of garlic.
Store leftover chicken and rice casserole in a covered container for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.