Monday, January 10, 2011

MEXICAN RICE (WITH CHICKEN)


SHOPPING LIST:
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Bag 10-Minute Rice
  • 1/2 Jar Tomato Sauce (Francesco Rinaldi Sweet&Tasty Tomato)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Ground Cumin
  • McCormick Original Chili Seasoning
  • Chicken Stock/Broth
  • Ground Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper

I am having one of those days where nothing that I am looking for has been here. On the flip-side, I have been on a mad cleaning spree and have discovered many useful household items previously deemed lost or swallowed by my living space. For example: my Tabasco is missing, so all hope of making some delicious buffalo chicken vanished... but I found not only my hair dryer (which has been missing since I moved back in September and apparently didn't make the cut when I was chaotically unpacking) but also found not one, not two, but six assorted bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Lucky me... that should save me a trip to the store for at least four to five months.

Anyway, in light of my recent findings and new year's resolution to Peter Pan my life if I have even the most minuscule desire to fly (aka: "Think Happy Thoughts") I turned my gaze to the bright side... I have defrosted my chicken breast and still have Chili Powder and Tomato Sauce. HOORAY! Mexican dinner night came early this week... and at lunch time no less!

Digging through my cabinet, I rounded up some sea salt, black pepper, and a bit of ground cumin... and with a bit more digging, I uncovered some 10-Minute Rice. Excellent. (If you are cooking along with me, please throw a quart of water with a pinch of sea salt on to the boil... and make sure your chicken breast is defrosted... NOW!) Now, what are we working with... 1 Chicken Breast, 1 bag of 10-Minute Rice (white or brown, your choice. I use white.), 1/2 jar of Tomato Sauce (I suggest Francesco Rinaldi Sweet & Tasty Tomato), fresh ground black pepper, fresh ground sea salt, Vegetable Oil (to cook the chicken), McCormick Original Chili Seasoning (it's the BEST... if you can get your hands on it), a sprinkle of ground cumin, and (if you have it) 1/4 cup Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth. (If you're like me and are limited on time, I suggest multitasking the quick and easy way... with Lipton Ring O'Noodle instant soup. Just add the packet to 4 cups of boiling water and stir for 5 minutes! I will warn you, however, if you are using soup BE SURE TO DRAIN OUT THE NOODLES!)

Got everything ready? Good. Let's cook.

Let's start by slicing your chicken while all that water boils. You want dimensions the size they would give you in Chicken Lo Mein at the Chinese Food Restaurant... this means small rectangles. Got that? Good.

Let's turn now to the stove top...

Your three ring circus should now consist of a quart of boiling water (for the rice), 4 cups of boiling water (for the soup), and a frying pan to cook your chicken in.

BURNER #1: Drop the bag of 10-Minute rice into the quart of water... for 8-10 minutes.

BURNER #2: Dump your packet of Lipton Ring O'Noodle soup into the 4 cups of water... for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

BURNER #3: Coat the bottom of the frying pan with Vegetable Oil, turn the burner on, and start frying up your chicken. While one side cooks about half way, be sure to grind some sea salt and black pepper onto your chicken slivers. Repeat on both sides. Next, shake a light dusting of Chili Seasoning Powder onto your chicken and begin to stir fry. Keep the chicken moving as you add 2 tablespoons of Tomato Sauce. Cook until you can slice the chicken in half and it is white on the inside. By the time you are finished with this, the soup should be done. Turn off your burner when the chicken is cooked.

BURNER #2: Turn off the burner when your 5 minute alarm sounds. Carefully drain 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and place it to the side. You can now drink or store your chicken soup for later.

BURNER #1: Your 8-10 minute rice alarm should be sounding now. Turn off the burner. Then, carefully remove the bag from the boiling water and let drain. I now suggest placing the bag of rice into a separate bowl while you snip the top off the bag off.

BURNER #3: Leave the chicken in the frying pan and turn the burner back on to a medium heat. Dump the bag of rice into the frying pan and begin to stir fry. Dump the chicken soup and remaining Tomato Sauce into the frying pan. Continue to stir. Smell your concoction... if it doesn't smell spicy enough, add more Chili Seasoning Powder. Add more sea salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle a tiny bit of Ground Cumin across the top of the rice & chicken mixture and continue to stir. Put the burner on low heat now and allow to reduce into a sticky-paste sort of mixture. Stir occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the frying pan and/or burns. When you feel as though you could scoop the mixture out with an ice cream scooper and it would remain in a ball, turn off the burner.


LET THE MIXTURE COOL AND THICKEN UP BEFORE REMOVING IT FROM THE FRYING PAN!


Take and eat... or or or! You can grab a whole grain tortilla, soften it in the microwave for 15 seconds, plop a generous portion of the rice and chicken mixture in a small line at the center with some fresh chopped tomato and perhaps some onion, fold two of the ends in about an inch, and roll the tortilla up like a burrito... before popping it in the oven at 350 for 6-8 minutes and enjoying with some salsa and guac... but I mean, that's if you're feeling ambitious.

Today, I am happy with just the Mexican Rice.

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