Thursday, May 22, 2008

Some Kinda Crazy Chicken & Rice Thing

Minimal housecleaning was accomplished today. And by minimal, I mean however much would keep it from being "none." I did get dinner accomplished, though, and that makes 3 nights in a row of home-cooking for my family (we had leftovers of Husband's Delight Casserole last night), and lately? That's saying something.

I started with a Spanish Chicken And Rice recipe, sent to me via Twitter by Angella. I started out only intending to change the white rice to brown rice, but that required pre-cooking of the brown rice, which in turn required altering the amount of liquid in the recipe, which I think changed the acid balance of the recipe, requiring lime juice, which made the whole thing cry out for additional spices. To cut to the chase, I'm just going to print what I made, instead of the original plus my changes. You may want to stick with the original. I'm not sure what I'd call this, but it wound up having a much more Mexican flavor to me than Spanish, but it was still good, and while it wasn't a hit with Bella due to the bell peppers and onions, Alex went back for a second helping, and I liked it.

Not-Quite-Spanish Chicken & Rice Skillet

3 cups cooked brown rice, cooked in stock (chicken, turkey, vegetable)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp chopped or minced garlic (I used jarred, pre-chopped)
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely (I used chopped, frozen onions & peppers)
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used a tri-color medley)
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 14-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen peas & carrots
Kosher salt & coarse-ground pepper to taste
Ground cumin to taste
Paprika to taste
Juice of one lime, or to taste

Got the brown rice cooking first--Alex does NOT like brown rice, so I have to cook the fool out of it for him to accept it. I cooked mine in some gorgeous turkey stock* that I made a couple of months ago out of this guy, and a bit of a new butter blend that I really like. While that was simmering, I started the chicken in the skillet.

I heated the skillet, and then the olive oil, to just a tick over medium heat, and placed the salted and peppered breast halves to sear in the skillet on both sides, then lowered the heat a bit, covered the skillet, and allowed the chicken to cook through a bit more.

browning chicken breasts

I added the onion and peppers, which, I am not at ALL ashamed to admit, came from this frozen package.

Dear Kroger, I am a fan of this concept

I am not much about cleaning and chopping on weeknights, you know? These frozen bags of "recipe starters" are genius, and I'm going to be chopping and freezing some of the sweet Vidalia onions that are in season right now, for just such use in the future. I also cheated on the garlic, using jarred, minced garlic. Sue me. Chopping is for chumps.

add onion and peppers

Once the onion and peppers had softened up, I added the white cooking wine, diced tomatoes, rice, salt, and pepper. The lid went on that and it continued to simmer for 20 minutes.

add rice, cover, simmer--this belongs three pictures ago. figure it out.

Next came the frozen peas and carrots.

toss in frozen peas & carrots, shred chicken while veggies steam

While those were steaming and heating through, I used two forks to pull apart the chicken breast halves, then added lime juice, ground cumin, paprika, and stirred it all well and let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so. And it was good.

stir in spices, season to taste

*Everyone has their own method of making stock, and my way is just one of many, but I must say, I had ZERO issues with this stock turning cloudy or retaining fat in the broth--I have a freezer full of it, and it's just deep golden, clear, and lovely. This is all I did: When Alex was done filleting all the meat off the turkey, I took the frame (back, neck, wings), cut it into pieces small enough to fit in my giant Crock-Pot, and covered it with water. I added onion, celery, and carrots, and left the whole thing to cook very, very slowly all day long. I turned the heat up for the first couple of hours, just to get the frame cooked, but then dialed it down to low for 10 hours or so. When it was done, I rapid-cooled the whole crock in a sinkfull of ice-water, then filtered the liquid through a coffee filter into freezer bags for storage.

heating up the previously frozen turkey broth


Lynn said...

definitely going to try this recipe and THANK YOU for sharing how you prepare stock... it was one of those things i didn't pay attention to when my mom or grandma was cooking. :(

Belinda said...

Most people start with the carcass of a cooked bird, which I didn't this time. When I've used all this up, for my next batch I'm going to use the giant drumsticks! Wild turkeys have LONG, muscular, sinewy legs. I'm gonna cook them in the oven and THEN use a similar method for making stock with the cooked legs.

I would imagine that later this summer, when it's time to butcher chickens, I'll have PLENTY of opportunity to experiment with making stock and broth (and learning the difference ????)!

Kate said...

That pepper/onion medley is GENIUS. There's only one store in my area that carries chopped frozen onions, and I love them.

Carmen said...

Hey, where didja go???

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