Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

I was in the mood for chicken and rice last week but wanted a healthier option than I grew up with as a kid. I looked through my pantry and fridge for what I had on hand and typed a few of my available ingredients into Bing. Batta-boom. Chipotle Braised Chicken and Rice with Zucchini courtesy of Epicurious was just what the doctor ordered. I have included a link to the original recipes. I made a few twists and turns of my own. If you give it a try, let me know what adaptations you make!

Chipotle and Ancho Braised Chicken

Ingredients

1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leafs
1 T butter
salt
pepper
1 1/2 T olive oil, divided
3-4 pounds chicken quarters
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili pepper
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

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Cook onion, garlic, and bay leaf in butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil with 1/8 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium heat until onion starts to cook down and caramelize, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in remaining tablespoon oil in and transfer to a plate.

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Stir in chile powders and onion mixture into pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock and simmer.

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Place chicken back in, and ladle some of the onions and broth over each piece. Cover and look on low 25-30 minutes. Turn once or twice to get flavor over entire pieces. Transfer chicken and onions with a slotted spoon to a platter. Skim off and discard fat from sauce, then boil until slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and spoon sauce over chicken.

Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
1 3/4 cups cold water
3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 T coriander seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch rounds, then quartered
1/2 cup chopped mixed cilantro, parsley, and mint
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Cook rice and water with 1 T oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Place in bowl to cool down.

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Saute coriander and cumin in 2 T oil in skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

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Add garlic, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until zucchini is crisp-tender, and slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

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Toss zucchini with rice, chopped herb mixture, lemon juice, pecans, and salt and pepper to taste.

This made a delicious and healthy dinner if I do say so myself. I hope you will share your favorite chicken and rice dish! Please leave a comment and remember to friend me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/brad.nierenberg.9 and Twitter https://twitter.com/GourmandBrad

Buon appetito!

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Vacation Vittles – Pizza, Seafood, Sausage

Vacation Vittles – Pizza, Seafood, Sausage

I spent last week on Hilton Head Island. I love that place. So many great spots to eat! In a slight departure from my usual topic of home cooked goodness, I thought I would share some of the yummy dinners I dined on.

If you frequent Hilton Head, some of these places might be familiar. Feel free to let me know what your favorite HH restaurants are so I can try them on a future vacation.

Il Carpaccio

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If like me, you fell in love with pizza in Naples, Italy, then you will understand that even though fresh seafood is the specialty on Hilton Head, I cannot leave the island without at least one pizza from Il Carpaccio. The thin, charred crust and delicate fresh tomato sauce is the closest I’ve found in the U.S. to the real thing. I chose the vegetarian this visit. Artichoke hearts, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini tasted fresh and delicious.

I sometimes go off menu and ask for prosciutto, Gorgonzola, pine nuts, and pear or some other combination I tried in Italy. They are very accommodating!

The Carolina Crab Company

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You absolutely, positively cannot leave Hilton Head without trying a Low Country Boil. If you’ve eaten a LCB in some other state, you will be in for a delightful surprise when you try one from the region where it originated. What you cannot see in this image of yumminess is the loaf of hot bread I used for dunking in the flavorful broth. I’ve never tried to make my own boil, I know the timing is essential for each added element. I have a feeling it takes practice to get it right!

The Skull Creek Boathouse

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Skull Creek Boathouse is a favorite with locals and tourists. It has a huge outdoor dining area that looks over the tidewaters. The view is wonderful. The food is even better. I tried coco scallops with a pineapple salsa. The creamy coconut sauce was delicious when pared with the heat of the jalapeno and sweetness of pineapple atop the perfectly seared scallops. I plan to start experimenting with my own versions of this delectable entree. It was one of those meals that had I been in the privacy of my own home, I would have licked the plate clean!

Street Meet

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I usually get a Hoffman snapper at Street Meet, but I could not resist this Cleveland specialty sandwich. Who could pass up grilled kielbasa on a hoagie bun, then piled high with fries, creamy coleslaw, and barbecue sauce? Certainly not I! Accompanied by their own fresh cut potato chips, this was an explosion of flavor in my mouth! The combination of sweet slaw with salty fries and meat was pure heaven. This great little bar/restaurant doubled in size a few months ago so there is now ample indoor seating.

What food vacations have you enjoyed lately? Fee free to post a few pictures with descriptions and links to the restaurant!