chicken rice pilaf
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I’m adding to the zillions of chicken recipes: chicken and rice pilaf, or baked chicken and rice casserole. Chicken is easy on the plate and on the cooking skills, hence probably the zillions of recipes. You can make this chicken and rice bake cheesy or not; the goat’s cheese is optional.
I’ve done a quick swipe of google trends (fascinating; geek like me just loves to find out which term is more searched for: chicken or beef? waffles or croissants?) and ‘chicken’ wins hands down. It’s a more popular search term than all the other types of meat, than fish and than Ariana Grande. And I don’t suppose people who google chicken need information on keeping them as pets.
It is the most popular and the blandest meat. You can use it in the hottest curries and actually make a dessert from it. If you’re struggling to describe a taste of a dish, you’re most likely to say ‘it tastes like chicken’. So rabbit tastes like chicken, and frogs’ legs and also apparently crickets.
I was brought up quite deprived of chicken as my Mum didn’t eat it and refused to cook it. She wouldn’t cook or eat any meat that (vaguely) resembled the shape of the animal it came from; my Mum, the hypocrite vegetarian. So for me chicken was a treat which I only got if taken out to dinner. Still, I could never say it was my best ever kind of meat. Chicken – all right, but no fireworks.
I don’t think many would profess chicken to be their all-time favourite kind of meat, but apparently roast chicken is the classic dessert island/death row dish. It is a common reaction to a new recipe: ‘you could make this with chicken!’ And that’s what I have done.
I took my baked rice casserole, or baked pilaf rice with mushrooms recipe and chucked some chicken in instead of mushrooms. Then I saw that Nigel Slater adds some soft cheese to his baked rice and that sounded good: chicken, cheese and rice might go well together? Of course they do – it’s chicken. It will go with anything.
chicken rice pilafServings: 2Time: about 45 minutes
- 2 large chicken fillets, skinned
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cube of chicken stock
- 1 tsp anchovy paste
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 5-6 spring onions, chopped
- 1 red chilli, medium hot, de-seeded and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 200g (1 cup) long grain rice
- ½ bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 50g (½ cup) soft cheese, goats or brie (optional)
- furikake seasoning, or sesame seeds mixed with crushed dried seaweed (nori or kombu)
1.Cut the chicken fillets into bite-sized chunks. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Dissolve the stock cube in 500ml (2 cups) boiling water and stir in the anchovy paste.
3.Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof pan over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until browned all over. Add the onions, chilli and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
4.Add the butter and rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes; reduce the heat a little if necessary. Add about half the chopped coriander, from the stems’ end, and pour in the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven.
5.Bake for 25 minutes without lifting the lid. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes, still without peeking inside.
6.After 10 minutes lift the lid, stir in the rest of the coriander and the cheese, if using, sprinkle generously with furikake and serve, with more furikake on the side.