Chicken and Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Here is what I came up with for lunch when presented with 4 boneless chicken thighs as a protein.
- 1.5 cups white rice
- 3 cups water plus additional water to soak the rice
- 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dried Aji Dulce peppers
- 1 pinch of saffron
- 5 slices of bacon
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 leek, quartered, rinsed and sliced thin
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/4 cup armagnac, vermouth or other flavorful alcohol
- kosher salt and pepper
- Soak the rice in water for ~10 minutes. While it is soaking heat the 3 cups of water and butter to a boil. While waiting you can prep the leek, garlic and chicken.
- When the water is boiling add the rice, aji dulce, saffron and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir once or twice, lower the temp so the water simmers and put a cover on. Rice should remain at a simmer for ~20 minutes.
- When the rice starts cooking place the bacon in a 12″ skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until the bacon is cooked to your liking. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan, reserving extra bacon fat for later.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and add the leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for ~5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds (you should start to smell the garlic). Remove the leeks to a bowl.
- Return the skill to medium heat one last time. Add at least one tablespoon of reserved bacon fat (or other fat if you didn’t have any extra) and add the chicken cubes; season with salt and pepper. Spread the chicken out in the pan so the chicken is not crowded. Saute for ~10 minutes, tossing and stirring occasionally so that all the chicken is browned and cooked through. While chicken cooks crumble the bacon and add it to the bowl of leeks.
- When chicken is cooked remove the skillet from the flame and pour in the armagnac. We want to flame it, so have a cover handy in case the flames crazy. If it doesn’t catch on fire by itself you can use a lighter. Cook until the flame burns down and the armagnac is reduces to a glaze for the chicken. Add the bacon & leek and stir to combine.
- If you’ve timed things well the rice should be just about done. Check that all the water has been absorbed. When it has turn off the heat. Give it a quick stir to incorporate the aji dulce, which tends to float on top. If the rice finishes before the chicken I like to place a clean dish towel over the top of the pan and then put the cover over it. This will absorb some of the steam and keep it from dripping back on the rice.
Serve the chicken, leek & bacon over the rice. Consume with abandon.