As the weather starts to grow colder and the days shorter, we spend a lot more time indoors where it's cozy and warm. This also means a lot of friends dropping by, sometimes unexpected. My family and I tend to eat a lot of slow cooked, savory meals that stick to the bone this time of year, and one of our favorites is a chicken and rice recipe that I inherited from my mother. The great thing about this dish is that it makes enough to feed a small army well, and the ingredients can be easily multiplied if your kids bring in a few extra friends at dinner time.
You will need:
3 cups of chicken stock
4 Chicken leg w/thigh
2 bell peppers cut into strips
1 small onion coarsely chopped
15-20 button mushrooms, whole
2 lbs. coarsely chopped turnips
15-20 cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cups of rice
1/2 lb. of sliced bacon
Spices: Tarragon, parsley, 2 bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper
Start by spreading the bacon strips out on the bottom of a stock pot. Begin cooking bacon on medium heat and layer the chicken on top. Add turnips, peppers, onion and turnips. Allow the bacon on the bottom to sizzle for about ten minutes so that it forms a nice layer of fat. Add chicken stock and spices, cover and simmer on medium until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the broth and take out the bay leaves. Drain chicken and allow to cool. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Once the chicken has cooled, pick it from the bone and toss pieces back into the broth. After all of the chicken has been added pour in the 2 cups of rice. Return the lid to the pot and pop the whole thing in the oven for about thirty minutes. Pull it out and dump in the tomatoes. Return to the oven covered for another ten minutes.
This is one of the most delicious dishes I have in my recipe box. I hope you'll try it out, and don't be afraid to experiment. No one in my family likes onions, so they are often omitted, or chopped into large enough pieces that I cook with them for flavor, then remove the evidence before deboning the chicken. I have also used turkey bacon and chicken breast when making this for a lower fat solution.
If you do make this dish, definitely let me know how it turned out. Enjoy!