The beauty of this recipe is that it's infinitely adaptable. I mean, it's chicken and rice; every culture on the planet has a version (except those pesky vegetarians--what is UP with those people? (says the former vegetarian)). Mine started years ago with this Paula Deen recipe, and as you'll see it's morphed into something that may seem a little more sophisticated, but is really just a way to cram more vegetables in there (for the vegetarians, don't you know). Here goes.
For two hearty servings (plus lunch for somebody the next day), you'll--at a minimum--need:
- 2-3 skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 ¼ cup water, vegetable broth, or chicken stock
- ¾ cup long grain rice
- 2 cups water, vegetable broth, or chicken stock
I generally start with a mirepoix of a carrot, a stalk of celery, and about half of a small to medium yellow onion. Oh, and some fresh thyme never hurt anyone:
And when I happen to have them on hand, I also like to add diced red bell pepper and fresh jalapeno. But as you can see, they're not essential. Tasty, but not essential.
Heat up the extra virgin olive oil in something with a lid, and saute your vegetables, herbs, and spices over medium-high heat until they've softened up. Then add your herbs and garlic and cook for about a minute more until your garlic becomes fragrant and you find yourself suddenly compelled to smear garlic all over your body but don't do that because that would be gross. And potentially deadly if you happen to be a vampire.
Next, deglaze your pan with a splash of white wine or sherry or even a little beer if you have it. If not, just go ahead and dump in your water or broth, making sure to scrape up all of those little brown crusty bits stuck to the bottom of your pan.
Bring your pot to a boil, then nestle your chicken thighs in that delicious brothy hot tub.
If you like it then you should a-put a lid on it (groan, sorry), then lower the heat and gently simmer for 30-40 minutes.
At this point your chicken should be mostly if not totally cooked (don't worry if it's not; so long as it's not still completely raw, which I'm not sure how that would happen but stranger things etc.) so you'll want to remove the pieces to a plate. Then, add the rice to the pan.
Let that bubble away for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using a couple of forks or those folk-like things attached to your wrists, shred the chicken thighs.
When the 10 minutes are up, add the shredded chicken meat back into the rice. This is the point where I like to clean the leftovers out of my fridge, so if I have any collard greens or mustard greens or turnip greens or kale or sauteed zucchini or squash or whatnot, I add that too. And then you just let that simmer for another 10 minutes while the rice finishes soaking up all that delicious broth.
Give the pot a little fluff job and serve with a little Tabasco on the side.
And dig in!