Friday was Bob's birthday and I fixed a very simple dish that I knew he would enjoy, Southwestern Chicken And Rice. I also fixed bread pudding, his favorite dessert, which failed miserably. Maybe it was my forgetting to include the milk in the custard? Hmmm, yes that was probably it. He swore the pudding was fine, but I know he was being a good sport about the whole thing. He also said he enjoyed the chicken and rice, but I believe he spoke the truth about that. This recipe is a one pot meal, very simple and enjoyable. The rice, loaded with corn, black beans, and cheese, has a creamy taste somewhat like risotto. The whole dish is prepared in one pot in only a few steps, which is a great relief on days when you can't find much time to spare for cooking much of anything.
One pot the recipe says and one pot it is. You brown chicken in a dutch oven. Then after setting the chicken aside, saute onions and garlic and rice in the pot. The chicken is put back in the pot, along with stock and wine. The one odd thing was the amount of liquid the recipe called for. Cook's swore that the amount of liquid was necessary. I simply couldn't add that much liquid to rice when it was cooked this way. I used less than the recipe specified and it came out fine.
Once the rice absorbed the liquid, the chicken was removed to serving plates and the corn, black beans, cheese and cilantro were mixed into the rice. It all melds together into a creamy, good tasting faux risotto.
Now, about that bread pudding, which was flavored with chocolate and expresso powder. The recipe called for a cup of cream and a cup of milk, the latter of which was mistakenly omitted. It was a sorry looking mess when it came out of the oven. Wasn't it nice of Bob to swear it was good? It wasn't.
One-Pot Southwestern Chicken and Rice (Cook's Illustrated)
You can substitute any semi-soft shredded cheese, such as fontina, Gouda, or Colby, for the cheddar.
4 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or 4 thighs
2 tablespoons salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped medium
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic , minced
1-1/2 cups long grain white rice
3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I only used 3 cups of broth and feared that was excessive, but it was OK)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 ounces cheddar cheese , shredded (1 cup)
1 15.5 ounce can of black beans, drained, and rinsed with water
1 10 ounce package of frozen corn, thawed and patted dry
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salsa for serving
1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
2. Add the onion, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the fat in the pot and place over medium heat. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook until the edges turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and wine and bring to a simmer.
4. Return the chicken to the pot, skin-side up. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 25 minutes.
5. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Stir in the black beans, corn, cheese, and cilantro. Let the cheddar melt for 1 minute. Season the rice mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with salsa.