Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week 21: Not Your Mother’s Chicken and Rice

I remember my mother making chicken and rice dishes, mostly casseroles that were heavy on some sort of canned creamed soup. Edible but not terribly flavorful, they were a staple in most households in the 1960s and 1970s. Given my subsequent aversion to casseroles and anything containing a creamed soup, I have avoided such dishes for 30+ years…until now.

In the most recent Sunset magazine, I found a recipe for Chicken Steamed Over Ginger-Garlic Rice. Full of flavor, utilizing only one pot and taking only 30 minutes, the family has determined the recipe a keeper and I can now proudly cook chicken and rice casserole.

Rather boring in color, due to the dual colors of white (rice, chicken) and green (sauce), it is anything but bland. The recipe contains bold flavors—ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil and jalapeno—that give the moist steamed chicken a great kick, although not so spicy that children won’t eat it.

The recipe is low in salt, easy to prepare and a quick and hearty weeknight meal. While the recipe says it yields four servings that would be a huge amount of rice per person. I used 2 pounds of chicken (rather than the 1 1/2 it called for) and it served 5 adults, with enough leftover for one lunch. I have adjusted a few things in the recipe to satisfy our palate, but if you want the original recipe, you can find it here.

Butcher Son and Mr. B added some sriracha to up the heat quotient, our guest tried it with a bit of soy, but Brilliant Daughter and I found it perfect just as it is. Now it’s your turn to debunk the myth that chicken and rice casseroles have to include creamed soups!

Recipe on the next page...

Chicken Steamed Over Ginger-Garlic Rice
2 shallots, halved
2 1/4-inch piece ginger, peeled and thickly sliced, divided
2 garlic cloves, divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups long-grain rice
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds boned, skinned chicken breasts
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 green jalapeño chile, sliced and stemmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water

Whirl shallots, 2 slices ginger, and 1 garlic clove in a food processor until well chopped.

Heat vegetable oil in a 5- to 6-quart pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring, until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir until well coated in oil.

Stir in broth and place chicken on top of rice. Cover and cook, without stirring, until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, purée green onions, remaining ginger and garlic, the cilantro, lime juice, green jalapeño, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water in a blender. Transfer to a bowl.

Lift chicken from pot and slice. Transfer rice to a platter and arrange chicken on top. Serve with cilantro-ginger sauce.

Yield: 6 servings

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