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!
Buck darlin, bought some quinoa at Whole Foods. Not in a box; no directions. Please tell me how to cook it. Want to try your recipes.
Cooking quinoa is much like cooking rice- it’s a 2:1 ratio. 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. It is best if cooked with stock or broth rather than water. You boil your liquid, add your quinoa reduce heat to low (or simmer), cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until the liquid is evaporated. My new-new favorite quinoa recipe is the black bean quinoa salad. Love it.