Just to prove that I don’t eat like a carbohydrate-addicted family of 12 all the time, here’s a sensible recipe for chicken and rice. My mom used to make this chicken when I was growing up; like so many of the dishes we ate, the recipe came out of some diet cookbook. Unlike so many of the dishes we ate, this chicken is actually moist, flavorful and delicious. (Sorry, Mom.) The rice recipe is actually something I invented tonight, and it is a-mazing. It’s fluffy and nutty, and the grains are a bit dry and chewy. The vegetable stock gives it an earthy flavor.
Baked Brown Rice Ingredients:
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 3/4 cups vegetable stock (I always use Wolfgang Puck. It’s mushroomy and rich, by far the best store-bought stock I’ve ever had. Chicken stock would probably work, too, but might get a bit salty.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt (Or, you know. A couple cloves of minced garlic and a pinch of salt.)
Pour the rice into an 8×8 glass baking dish. Combine the stock, butter and garlic salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the stock over the rice and stir to combine. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice appears fluffy and dry.
Pan-Fried Chicken Ingredients:
3 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
Thaw the chicken breasts if they’re frozen. Rinse them and pat them dry. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a gallon-sized plastic bag (or a big bowl, if you’re environmentally conscious in a way that I am not). Add the chicken breasts to the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and set aside. Save the bag with the extra flour mixture for the gravy.
Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a skillet with a lid. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, flipping occasionally, until the outside is lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid, drop the heat down to low and let the chicken cook covered for 30 minutes. Do not lift up the lid; all that steam is making the chicken moist and juicy.
Uncover the chicken and cook, flipping occasionally, until it’s no longer pink in the middle (maybe an additional 5 to 10 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pan and keep it warm.
Whisk together the extra flour mixture from the plastic bag and the milk. Add the chicken broth and pour it into the skillet. Heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy thickens and bubbles. Add a little extra flour if needed.
Serve the chicken on top of a bed of rice. Top the whole thing with gravy. Throw in a veggie on the side if the plate looks too beige.