Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chicken with Rice

Blog no. 16 is eradicating the teenage I'm-so-hungry-I-could-eat-a-cow blues ...

If I were looking to put some weight on my 16-year-old son, I'd feed him a steady diet of tacos, rice and pizza. Jake's slemder waist could stand a few more inches.

My menu has proven an effect weapon against teenage hunger more than once. Serve these foods to him and he's a happy camper.

Like many teenagers, fish tacos are out. I take few chances. Three or four ground beef tacos piled with shredded cheddar or pepper jack will satisfy him for an evening.

And the pizza must be pepperoni. He'll tolerate sausage. But mushrooms, olives and peppers are out.

Jake has never been a potato eater like his sisters. He's always favored rice. Any pilaf-style rice catches his attention.

"Dad, that was good," Jake remarked as he finished his second helping when I served baked chicken and rice last week. I barely had enough for my lunch the next day.

This evening I prepared chicken with rice recipe in my grandmother's old fry skillet. The recipe, adapted from Sunset Magazine, had been sitting in my clipping file since May 2004. It's identical to the dish that I often cook for the family.

Chicken with rice is a versatile one-pot meal. You saute the chicken in the pot first, set it aside and prepare the rice. After adding chicken broth and flavorings, set the chicken in a single layer on top. Everything bakes together. The poultry imparts a rich chicken flavor to the casserole.

So, if you need a dish to satisfy teenage hunger pains, or just have a family to feed, chicken with rice will fit the bill.


Use about 2-1/2 pounds diced pre-cooked chicken in place of the thighs if desired. This is a good way to use leftover chicken. To prepare, skip the first two steps. Proceed with the onions, chilies and garlic. Stir chicken in with the broth and tomatoes. Bake as instructed, being careful not to overcook the chicken.

8 chicken thighs (about 6-ounces each)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh jalapeno chilies, seeded and sliced
1-1/2 cup long-grain rice
2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chilies
1-3/4 cups frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Remove skin from chicken. Trim and discard excess fat. Rub chili powder all over chicken. Heat oil in 7-quart Dutch oven (or 12-inch camp oven) over medium-high heat.

Add chicken in a single layer and turn as need to brown both sides, about 10 to 12 minutes. Brown in 2 batches, if necessary to avoid over-crowding. Transfer to a plate.

Add onion, garlic and chilies to pan. Stir often until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir until opaque. Add broth, tomatoes, corn and cilantro. Bring to a boil over high heat. Season with salt to taste.

Lay chicken over rice in Dutch oven. Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven until chicken is tender and chicken is done, about 30 minutes. Serve 1 or 2 pieces of chicken to each diner. Save leftover rice for lunches and late-night snacks.

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