Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Classic Combo

Just about every culture has a one-pot chicken and rice meal, and for good reason; it's usually easy to prepare, economical, comforting and of course, delectable. Rice is my preferred starch and I like it just about every way. In fact, I have never met a meal of rice that I didn't like; Arancine makes me swoon, risotto is all about creamy deliciousness, fried rice is fun, jambalaya is like a party in my mouth, biryani is complex, and tah digue is a delight. I could eat rice every day and never grow tired of it, and I practically do...just ask my family.

Luckily, here in California, we have a rice grower that is far above the rest when it comes to sustainable farming. According to their website, "Lundberg Family Farms is a leader in producing and marketing high quality organic and eco-farmed rice products in a sustainable and beneficial manner." They have a fantastic variety of rices including brown, white, jasmine, basmati, red, black and wild that are available at specialty grocers like Whole Foods and Bristol Farms.

While their organic rice might be a tad more pricey than the usual kind, it is a worthy investment in both the health of the environment and your family. Rice that has not been farmed organically has been treated with some 40 different kinds of pesticides and herbicides in California alone, 15 of which have been classified as being high risk to humans, animals and/or groundwater supplies. That by itself should be enough to knock some sense into anyone, but the fact that imported rice contains even more pesticides, some banned in the United States, makes me all the more careful about what I buy. Something that I put into my body nearly every day, had better not be a hazard to my health. If you'd like to read more on this interesting, if not depressing subject, look here.

But I prefer to discuss happier onto the recipe, which I found in Gourmet Magazine. It was appealing for several reasons, not the least of which is that it only requires one pot, which is fantastic--the help (husband) is especially grateful. Plus, with its saffron scented rice, peas and chicken thighs, it just sounded so yummy--and it was.

Latin One-Pot Chicken and Rice
adapted from Gourmet Magazine
serves 4

2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6)
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped (1 C)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 C organic, long-grain rice
1 3/4 C chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 t saffron threads, crushed
4 large green olives with pimentos, sliced
1 C frozen peas, not thawed
2 T chopped parsley

Heat olive oil and butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side down, into hot oil and brown for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to plate. Pour off all but 2 T fat and reduce heat to medium. Put onions and garlic into pan along with a large pinch of salt and saute for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add rice and stir to coat the grains with the oil. Add broth, saffron and olives and stir to combine. Return chicken and any juices to pan (skin side up) and nestle down into the rice mixture. Cover with lid and reduce heat to low, simmering for about 25 minutes, or until broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat, open lid and stir in peas. Cover pan with a clean dish cloth, return lid and let steam for 15 minutes more, or until tender and fluffy. Taste for seasoning, garnish with parsley and serve.

1 comment:

Ann @ Cooking the Books said...

I love arroz con pollo -- yum! You and my mom should form an I-heart-rice fan club. She has to have it every day, or she feels empty inside. As a result, I totally od'ed on rice as a kid and these days only make it about once a month. I also cook the world's worst rice -- it's always too sticky. Does the dish towel prevent this?