Take a minute with me- do you have a dish or maybe two that your Moma makes that only your Moma can make the exact way you like it? I am fortunate in that I have a Moma that can cook but even so, there are a couple of her dishes that only she can cook the exact way I like it. One of those dishes is chicken and rice. Yep, just plain, ole chicken and rice.
One would think that this would be a dish easily replicated- but, it’s not! I once told Bub that I was craving chicken and rice. He said he’d make me some. I was kinda leery, but I went along with it. He got busy in the kitchen, I got busy not in the kitchen. I walked through just in time to see Bub putting a casserole in the oven! Whaaaaaat?!!!? No part of plain, ole chicken and rice goes in the oven! Actually, I don’t know exactly how Moma makes it but it is always served off the stove in a pot.
It was then that it sunk completely home that not just anybody (even my incredibly well-meaning husband) could cook chicken and rice and since then I have done all that I could to discourage any attempts. Honestly, I think the secret(s) lie(s) in that the rice is cooked in home-made bone-in chicken stock and she only uses one brand of white rice.
Did you see that next to last word… and see that word it’s describing? Yeah- I don’t eat much white rice. Maybe if Moma made some of her chicken and rice- but, it was just me and the first mate (Commodore was at work) on a Monday night- so- no white rice for us. But, I still wanted some chicken and rice. So, I decided to clean it up a bit and throw in some broccoli.
First thing, I cooked quinoa- in store-bought vegetable stock- the only stock I had on hand. I steamed some broccoli. I use a metal colander and a pot of boiling water, no fancy steamer for me. And then I sliced and cooked 2 chicken breast in the cast iron skillet.
Although there were two major steps in this modified version of chicken and rice, this was a pretty quick go. Quinoa cooks fast and as it was cooking and standing, I sliced the chicken and got it going and cut up the broccoli and got it going. Once the chicken was cooked, I set it aside and sautéed a third of a green bell pepper and maybe an eighth of a red onion and 2 tablespoons of garlic.
I added the chicken back into the bell pepper, onion, garlic sauté in hopes it would soak up some of their flavors. Then, I added in the broccoli. I had planned to add the quinoa to the skillet but there wasn’t enough room so, I spread it in a 9X13 Pyrex and poured the skillet mixture over it. And I tasted… it needed something. Cheese! I spread about a cup of shredded cheese over the top and stirred it and that was the ticket! This is a dish worthy of being noted as a reincarnation of Moma’s chicken and rice! I mean, I stretched it- but, it could certainly be the city cousin to chicken and rice!
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2-3 Tbsp EVOO
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1-2 big heads of broccoli
- 1/3 bell pepper
- 1/8 red onion
- 2 Tbsp garlic
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. (I used broth, water works fine.)
- Steam broccoli until tender.
- Warm EVOO in skillet. Slice and cook chicken in skillet and set aside.
- Chop bell pepper and onion and sauté in skillet with garlic
- Add chicken and broccoli back in skillet and quinoa if possible, if not mix all ingredients including cheese in a serving dish.
I hope this inspires you to do a new twist to one of your old favorites!