Sunday, January 23, 2022

Chicken and Rice (Non-Complicated)

Recipes such as this make for warm, neighborly gifts greatly appreciated on a cold wintry day. 

As the title suggests, this really is not a complicated recipe. You can serve it as a soup. Or a stew. It's the kind of recipe you make in the morning or early afternoon and just keep it warm on the stove ... as you go back for a little more. And then just a bit more. Maybe dunk in a piece of nice buttered bread . . . You know what I mean.

It's even better the next day!

Although the recipe did not call for it, I added garlic, cheese, chicken stock and chicken base. If you cut up your vegetables the day before, this is a snap to prepare with little clean-up. What's not to like?

Most likely, you have all the ingredients in your pantry. This recipe uses skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. To make it even less expensive, I purchased a package of three leg quarters, cut off the thighs, and froze the drumsticks. You want the skin and bone for their flavor. Eventually, you will discard the bones. Do not use chicken breasts. If you can find them, use a mix of mushrooms for more flavor. 

RICE: You have several options for rice. I opted to used "Ready Rice" from Uncle Ben's. I used two packets of original. If they had it, I would have used one packet of "Wild Rice" and one packet of "Original." You could use raw, white, long-grained rice, in which case I would use anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 cup--just be sure to wash it in a sieve until the water runs clear.

  • Salted butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thin, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of peeled garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1.5 lb. chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 2 cups cooked rice (see notes above)
  • 1 T. chopped fresh marjoram or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or similar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 1 T.  chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon pepper (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven or large pan over medium heat. When hot, add about two teaspoons each of butter and olive oil. Add chicken, skin side down until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip, cook another two minutes. Remove from pan and place on a plate.

Add another 2 teaspoons of butter and oil to pan. Add your vegetables, stirring frequently until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add sprigs of sage and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add stock to pan. Bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Discard sage and thyme

Meanwhile, remove skin from chicken. Save. Using forks or you fingers, shred the meat and discard the bones. Using a sharp knife, finely mince the skin (it is loaded with flavor). Return chicken mixture to simmering pot. 

Add your rice, either cooked or raw. Add marjoram and dried thyme. Add whole sprig of rosemary, if using.

IF USING RAW RICE: Turn to a high simmer. Partially cover pot cook for about 30-35 minutes until rice is tender.

IF USING COOKED RICE: Keep heat at a low simmer. Cook gently for 20-30 minutes.

Remove rosemary sprig. 

Taste for salt. Add grated cheese. Mix until melted. Add cream. I add a sprinkle of lemon pepper, totally optional and a pinch or two of Bell's poultry seasoning.  Mix in parsley. Turn to a bare simmer and allow everything to warm through. Taste periodically adding salt, pepper, or more cheese, if needed.

Ladle into bowls and serve with a side of bread and/or fresh fruit.


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Corrected ...Jiffy Quick Corn Bread

On New Year's Day I made the obligatory Southern black-eyed peas. I wanted cornbread to go with it, but didn't feel much like messing up the kitchen more than it already was.

Instead of beginning a batch from scratch, I simply rummaged the pantry searching for that little box of Jiffy Mix. But I didn't really want a dry cornbread and I didn't want muffins.

Cornbread is so popular in the South that on New Year's,
store shelves are often empty. Still less than one dollar
a box!

I did a bit of quick research and found a number of ways to "spiffy up" Mr. Jiffy.

I added sour cream, brown sugar and grated in frozen butter. I baked it in an 8-inch, non-stick skillet. 

It was delicious.

The crust was nicely browned (the best part) and the interior was moist and pillowy. I did miss the depth of flavor home-made cornbread brings to the table, but this was just fine. More than fine. It was great!

  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk, preferably whole milk
  • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 stick butter, COLD, salted or not salted
  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon grease, Crisco or lard
  • 1 7-8 inch pan, cast iron or non-stick

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place your choice of grease into pan. When melted, it should be a thick "puddle." Meanwhile, prepare your mix.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the milk, sour cream and egg. Add to Jiffy Mix to a medium bowl. Break up any clumps. Using the large holes of box grater, grate the butter into the mix. Toss to coat and to incorporate. 

Add wet ingredients and gently combine until moistened. Do not overmix. 

Using a hot pad, remove pan from oven. Add corn meal mixture. You should hear a sizzle. Smooth the top. Return to oven. Turn down heat to 350. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until top is golden and toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Flip onto a wire rack. If desired brush melted butter or drizzle on a bit of honey and brush it over the surface.

Allow to cool 10-15 minutes. Slice into wedges and watch it disappear.

My "from scratch" cornbread recipe is here: