Let’s have a show of hands. Who here likes chicken and rice? Ah, oui, oui, more than a couple of you, I see. Do you have a favorite way to prepare it? I’ve enjoyed preparing and feasting on a variety of chicken and rice recipes over the years ... recipes from all over the globe such as Italian baked chicken ala risotto, Caribbean Spiced Chicken and Rice with peas, and Arroz Con Pollo to name a few. Today, with the wind gusts threatening to hurl me off the map as well as keeping me homebound due to the icy roads, I wanted to create something that would ward off the chill and blow my taste-buds away.
Enter my new cookbook titled 60-Minute Gourmet by the amazing Frenchman, Pierre Franey. Most of you know that I am a cookbook, um, fanatic. I have a *thing* for cookbooks. I check them out from the library, stand in the bookstore isles pouring through them, and don’t even get me started on Amazon. I covet turning each page from cover to cover much like normal people are glued to a great novel. Whenever the question, “What have you read lately” pops up, my answer almost always includes a homeschool book and a cookbook title. My friends know this about me, and love me anyway. One such dear friend, Marjie, at Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet, thoughtfully surprised me with a gift of two wonderful cookbooks to drool over! (You know Marjie -- Mother of nine, cooking and baking whiz, and first class ice cream maker!) One book is on soups, which I love, and I’ll write more on that later, and the other book, 60-Minute Gourmet, provided today’s recipe titled “Casserole de Poulet au Riz”. It’s fun to say, especially if you roll your r’s, casserrrrrole de poulet au rrrrriz, and it’s even better to eat.
Now, my fellow bloggers, don’t for one second be put off by the word casserole. What do you think of when you hear the word casserole? Are you picturing a large, Pyrex baking dish? I, um, actually like casseroles; my family, sigh, not so much. Casseroles, that is. THEY don’t so much like casseroles.ANYWAY, this lovely French recipe is prepared on top of the stove, and is soooo incredibly easy to make. I did modify the ingredients based on my cupboard contents as well as the preferences of my picky palate people. What was fun about this was that not only was it a success, but I learned new cooking techniques today, and that’s always fun. So, mon ami’s, here is the recipe shown with my modifications. Let me know what you think, s’il vous plait!
Chicken and Rice
1 whole chicken breast, split in half, about 2 lbs. total weight for the 4 pieces (I used 7 thighs)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic (I used 1 ½ teaspoons)
1/3 fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered (I left out as my offspring will not touch mushrooms. I’ve heard enough “fungus among us” jibes to last a life time.)
1 bay leaf
½ cup dry white wine (I used 6 oz – hic!)
½ cup raw rice (I used ¾ cup)
1 cup chicken broth (I used one 15 ½ oz can – I also made chicken broth today, but it was simmering away at the same time as I was making this!)
1. Do not skin or bone the chicken. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the butter in a large skillet, swirl to coat the bottom, and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Brown about 5 minutes and turn.Look at that beautiful color!
3. Scatter the onion and garlic between the chicken pieces and add the mushrooms and bay leaf. Cook about 5 minutes.
4. Add the wine and cook until it is almost all evaporated. Add the rice and broth, taking care that the rice does not rest on top of the chicken pieces. Cover closely and cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Voila! Here it is! It looked so tantalizing on the plate. I had a couple surprises here. First, the rice picks up all of the fond in the bottom of the skillet, and takes on this beautiful, dark golden hue. Next, I was worried that there wasn’t enough rice. If your family is comprised of big rice eaters, you will need to make more. Also, the rice is very buttery with a risotto like texture, and it was fun to “mold” it before plating. Can you see the rice? It’s the same color as the chicken. All three of my kids LOVED the chicken. Don't those green onions look like headlights? Ha!They, uh, my children, that is, not the headlights, were split on the rice. You won't hear me complain, though, because the fact that they ate chicken on-the-bone AND simultaneously made yummy noises while doing it was enough to satisfy me! Let’s have a bite, shall we? Mmm, ooh la la, Casserole de poulet au Riz - ah oui... tu es tre magnific! Every recipe I’ve made out of this book has been a hit! Merci, Marjie, for thinking of me and for this great book! How do you like my saucy French? Not too bad for an English speaking Italian girl, eh? Oh, and of course, it's gluten free all the way, bebe!