Sunday, May 12, 2013

Keeping it Simple

When I was a kid, my mom made chicken and rice a lot, probably because it was a cheaper and easier meal to serve.  And I loved it.  I loved the smell of it, the texture, the big chunks of chicken.  And my family loves it now too.  Hearty and full of flavor, yet still a much lighter, better-for-you meal.

Sometimes, however, I want the version of chicken and rice from our friends south of the border, Arroz con Pollo.  Still chicken and rice, but this version has an added punch of flavors.  The addition of tomatoes, cilantro, and green chilies take this chicken and rice to another level.

I do have to tell you a secret about myself now.  I'm terrible at making rice.  Seriously terrible.  But I've developed a way to fix that problem.  I'm going to give you the real instructions on making the rice in the recipe. However, if you are rice cooking challenged like me, here's my trick.  I add in more chicken stock, a little at a time, until I finally get the rice soft. I know, I should be able to manage something as simple as rice.  But it's usually a 50-50 toss-up on whether I have to cheat the recipe.  Whichever way works for you.  But I think you and your family will enjoy this classic, yet kicked-up version of chicken and rice.

Are you rice cooking challenged?

1/2 red onion, chopped
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 C white rice
2 C chicken stock
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
2 T butter
Olive oil

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter and drizzle in some olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes, being sure not to overcook the chicken.  Remove from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

If necessary, drizzle in some more olive oil.  Turn the heat up to medium high.  Cook the onion until tender.  Put your rice in and brown it slightly. Add the remaining ingredients except the chicken and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender (here's where you check it occasionally and maybe add in extra stock).  Remove from heat and stir the chicken back in.

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