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Easy Chicken and Rice Done Three Ways
Mom's Chicken and Rice
If you want an easy chicken and rice recipe, this is the one. I'm relatively certain that this recipe was born during the Depression era as a way to stretch leftovers from a roast chicken dinner. I've made it simple by substituting canned gravy, but feel free to use the real thing. This dinner became one of my children's favorites as they were growing up, and they still ask for it to this day. This is dinner on a plate in approximately 20 minutes. Serve with some dinner rolls and a side salad.
- 1 large boil-in-bag white rice
- 1 can chicken gravy
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup frozen peas
- salt & pepper
Bring two pans of water to a boil. Put the chicken in one and the bag of rice in the other. Cook for 10 minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked through. (You can add salt and pepper, onions or other herbs to the pot with the chicken if desired.)
While the chicken and rice are cooking, put the gravy in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Put the frozen peas in a colandar and rinse under cold water to at least partially defrost.
Remove the chicken and rice from the water. Drain the rice. Cut the chicken into 1" chunks. To the gravy, add the rice, chicken and peas. Turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are heated through.
American-Style Arroz Con Pollo
This is my simple take on the classic Cuban chicken and rice dish, Arroz Con Pollo. As a single mother raising three children in Miami, I simply didn't have the time to wait for chicken to marinate or make sofrito, and my kids didn't want to deal with the bones in the chicken and rice. This recipe has subsituted boneless chicken but added in some chorizo to add a bit more flavor to the dish.
- One yellow onion, chopped
- Two cloves garlic, minced
- Olive oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken
- 1 lb chorizo sausage (you can substitute hot Italian sausage)
- 1 box yellow rice (I prefer Goya)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin coat of olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or so, being sure not to brown the garlic.
Cut the chicken and sausage into 1" chunks. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add both to the pan with the onion and garlic and cook until browned on all sides. (Note: If you don't want all the fat of the sausage, you can cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes in the microwave on high to let some of the fat render off.)
Add the water, rice and seasonings to the skillet according to package directions. Add in hot sauce to taste. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Put the peas in a strainer and run under cold water until partially thawed. Add to the rice mixture after 15 minutes, stir, and cook another 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Risotto With Chicken and Mushrooms
Risotto is an Italian staple made from Arborio rice. This chicken and rice recipe is super simple to make, but will take a bit of time as the risotto asorbs the liquid much more slowly than other types of rice. The secret to this dish is low and slow cooking stirring almost constantly.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2" pieces
- salt and pepper
- 5-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a slow simmer.
In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are cooked and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, some salt and pepper, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and mushrooms from the pan.
Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the rice all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice begins to turn opaque, approximately two minutes.
Turn the heat to low. Add the wine to the rice, a little more salt and cook, stirring frequently, until all of the wine has been absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and repeat the process. The rice and broth should be bubbling gently, so adjust the burner temperature as needed.
Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb all of the broth between additions. Be sure to stir frequently during this process, if not constantly. Cook the rice this way until tender, usually about 25 to 30 minutes. Be sure not to overcook. You want each piece of rice tender to the bite, not crunchy but certainly not mushy. You may not need all of the broth or you may need to add more broth or water than the recipe calls for.
When the rice is fully cooked, stir in the chicken, mushrooms, parmesan cheese and parsley and heat through. Serve the dish topped with additional parmesan.