chicken

Creamy rice with chicken and vegetables

I was in the mood for a hearty meal today and something creamy was catching my fancy. Now, creamy is one of those words that sets people off towards the gym but let’s be real, eating something indulgent once in a while is perfectly fine. I’ve seen recipes for creamy rice multiple times and a lot of them require canned cream of chicken or something along those lines. Personally, I am not a fan of canned anything so I wanted to make something similar but without all the additives.

The results were delicious. This is not the kind of dish that I would make often but it’s definitely one that I will add to my rotation.  I don’t have precise instructions on how to make it. I don’t measure unless I’m following a recipe, so the best I can do is share what I used and how I cooked it.

You will need:

brown rice

chopped onion

chicken thighs cut up into bite size pieces (I used two)

chicken stock

flour

butter

olive oil

vegetables of your choice (I used a frozen medley of carrots, peas, corn and green beans)

The first thing I did was sauté the onions in a little olive oil. I then added the rice and toasted it for a bit before adding the stock. Make sure to taste your stock, especially if you’re using store bought. You might not need to add any additional salt. You can either add water or chicken stock to your rice. I chose to use stock. You can also use vegetable stock. Cook the rice as you normally would.

In a pan melt a tablespoon of butter and a generous tablespoon of olive oil. Add your chicken. The chicken should be lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Sauté until the chicken is mostly cooked and has developed some color. Add a table spoon or so of flour and stir this flour in throughout the chicken. This is going to create our sauce. It is important to cook the flour a little before adding in the chicken stock. After adding in the stock allow it to come up to a simmer. If the sauce is too thick add a little more stock. Once it’s simmering add your vegetables and stir.

At this point your chicken is done and you can use this as a filling for pot pies if you like. You can also skip the chicken and add mushrooms to make this a vegetarian dish.

When your rice is done add the chicken and vegetables to the rice and combine thoroughly. You should have a creamy rice and chicken mixture. Finish with a splash of heavy cream.

If I had thyme, tarragon, or sage I would have definitely added that to the chicken. I was also out of garlic, which was unfortunate but even without these ingredients I was happy with the finished product. Best of all, there were plenty of leftovers which means I don’t have to cook tomorrow!

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Chicken Pot Pie two ways

I have been doing a lot of cooking lately and been in the mood to share the results as you can tell from my recent posts. Last week I had some of this crust dough leftover in the fridge along with some roast chicken thighs from the night before and I decided to combine these to make chicken pot pies. As I often do, I did not work from a recipe.  I pulled out some mixed vegetable from the freezer and threw about a cup and a half into a pot along with a dash of salt and pepper, a little water, and a tablespoon of butter. I also added some celery seed and a bay leaf. Once the veggies were boiling I added the cut up chicken along with the bones (for flavor). I let this cook together for a few minutes and then strained the veggies and chicken, saving the liquid for the filling.

In that same pot I added some butter and flour to make a roux. Once this had reached the desired color I added back the cooking liquid along with a splash of milk. Once it thickened I added back the chicken and vegetables (minus the bones and bay leaf).

I had my left over dough rolled out already and I had cut around the ramekins I was going to use. I then spooned the filling into the ramekins and topped with the dough. I baked it at 375 for about 20 minutes. I was able to make three pies with the amount of filling and dough I had on hand.

The results were delicious and it felt good to use up my leftovers and dough scraps.

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I would say that making the dough from scratch is well worth it but if you prefer you can always use store-bought. I find that the Pillsbury pie crust is decent, and before I started making my own crust it is what I used. Some people use cream of chicken for the filling, which is fine, but if you can make a roux and make it yourself. It’s not difficult and with practice it will be a cinch to make.

Today I found myself with some crust in the fridge but no cooked chicken. I decided to  make pot pies again but I had to cook the chicken this time. I wondered if cooking the chicken on the stovetop would make a difference. I didn’t have a lot of crust so I only used one chicken thigh. I took the skin off and trimmed off the fat before separating the meat from the bone and cutting it into bite sized pieces. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper. Instead of discarding the chicken fat like I would normally do I decided I would cook the chicken in its own fat. I threw it in a pot and let it melt, I then added some chopped onion to the pot and let it cook for a bit. When the onions had softened I added the meat and the bone and sautéed it all together until the chicken had browned some. At this point I added one cup of water and let it all come to a boil and cook until the meat was done.

At this point I added in my frozen vegetables. When the vegetables were cooked I removed about a half cup of the liquid in the pot and melted a tablespoon of butter into it. I then added some flour to this liquid and made a paste that I added back into the pot and cooked (adding a splash of milk) until it thickened (you can add some additional milk if the mixture is too thick). This worked out just as well as making a roux in the traditional way. My intention was to keep it to one pot without having to make an additional mess.

From this point I proceeded exactly as I had before. I spooned it into my ramekins and topped with the rolled out dough. This time I only made two pot pies and they were just as good as the last. The flavor was not exactly the same but the flavor profiles were the same.

Whether you use left over chicken or cook your chicken specifically for making pot pies this is a hearty, easy to eat meal that won’t disappoint!

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