Chicken & Rice. It’s a simple enough combination for a weeknight dinner.
Ravenous on Monday night, I had a look at the chicken breast I’d defrosted and hadn’t a clue what to do with it, or with what to serve it.
So, I simply didn’t think about it.
I went over to the spice cabinet and began pulling bottles out and sprinkling this and that into the marinade that I was making (chicken is just SO much better once it has been marinated – even if its a 15 minute marinade!)...Basil…garlic and herb…black pepper…a split-second-sprinkle of salt…one dash of soy sauce…half a freshly-squeezed lemon…rice vinegar…something like that.
I rough- chopped a medium onion and tossed it into a pan to soften in some olive oil and then seared the chicken on both sides, removed it to cool briefly and cut into strips, allowing the onions to absorb some of the marinade flavor on their own, and then tossed everything in again to cook thoroughly.
Then, I removed the chicken from the pan and plated it and took some medium-grain rice that I’d already cooked and then I threw in some crushed garlic into the pan, already flavored from the chicken, refreshed the rice with a tsp of water, and added a thin slice of butter, and grated parmesan.
I did all of this fairly mindlessly, not realizing exactly what I had been making until I took a taste: then I realized that I’d essentially just made my mom’s chicken that she used to make when I was a kid!
Chicken: With the home-made and super-quick marinade, the chicken breast is rich in flavor, tender, and far, far from dry. I also noticed that the flavor develops a bit as you taste it – one moment, tasting the garlic and then tasting a zing of lemon and contrast of black pepper.
Rice: The rice is so simple to make and was truly delicious. I learned the basics of parmesan, garlic and butter from a dear Brazilian mom, but also cooking it with a trace of the chicken flavor from the spices added something special to the rice without changing its color or texture. Browning the garlic and butter together, along with parmesan, which is already a bit of a nutty cheese, added a rich but mellow flavor to perfectly complement the more ‘colorful’ chicken.
I didn’t make a veggie, but I could see steamed brussel sprouts as being a nice accompaniment.
I have to emphasize, it is really, really easy – it took me about 25-30 minutes. It’s something that is also easy to make for larger groups – I’m sure I’ll be serving this one for people soon! =) Try making it and let me know how it goes.