Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 14 Oct 2008

It’s been far too long since we’ve had a food post around here (probably because I’ve been too busy to cook, but let’s not discuss that). Time to correct that.

Yesterday I got a yen for some form of comfort food. Tasty. Warm. Keeps and reheats well so I can have tasty, warm, comforting food goodness for dinner all week. A couple of weeks ago Sara was talking about making a chicken and rice casserole for her family and it struck me as just the dish I was looking for.

The recipe is Chicken and Rice with Tomatoes, White Wine, and Parsley (login required) from Cook’s Illustrated. The dish took over an hour to make but the end result was worth the wait. I diverged from the recipe in a few ways:

  • I used skin-on/bone-in chicken thighs and legs instead of bothering to dismember a whole chicken. I mean, really. Who wants to do that on a weeknight after a long day at work?
  • The teaspoon of salt called for in the recipe? Yeah, didn’t use it. The “liberally” salted chicken bits added plenty of salt to the dish.
  • It turns out I didn’t have long-grain white rice on hand but I did have long-grain brown. In it goes. It took a little longer to cook but, um, so what? It’s only another 15 minutes, after all. That gave me time to prep the veggie. More on that in a bit.
  • Water? Cook the rice, chicken, etc. in water? Are you kidding me? Chicken stock, baby. C’mon, live a little. Criminy…

The end result was exactly what the doctor ordered. It was very flavorful in the best possible of ways. The tomatoes added a pleasant brightness. Bone-in chicken helped give a little extra body to the dish. The brown rice made for a much more substantial and satisfying meal (plus I can pretend it’s health food).

The chicken and rice was served with romanesco which had been steamed, seared in some olive oil and then finished with salt, lemon juice and finely chopped basil and mint. I enjoyed this part of the meal almost as much as the chicken and rice. Ah, mint… So under-appreciated in America. It’s good for more than Altoids, folks.

Some other recipe alterations which might be worth trying:

  • After browning the chicken but before sauteeing the onions and garlic, crisp up some minced pancetta. Remove it before sauteeing the aromatics but add it back along with the chicken.
  • When adding the liquids also add a few threads of saffron, crushed.
  • When adding the liquids also add a bay leaf and some fresh orange zest. About 10 minutes before serving stir in some fine olives (pitted and sliced, preferably). Definitely don’t add the salt in this case. Oh, and don’t be a dolt and eat the bay leaf.

Just some ideas. If I get to try them at all it won’t be for quite a while now. Not only do I have a lot of fantastic leftovers on-hand I also have a lot of other tasks vying for my time and, alas, cooking currently doesn’t bubble to the top of the priority stack.