The name might sound basic, but this dish is awesome! It has so much flavor, and with some homemade tortillas and cheese and sour cream, it gets even better. I associate this dish with visiting Sarah, as I requested it almost every time I went to her place for dinner, and I can remember plenty of heart-to-heart talks, somewhat less serious talks (such as whether refried black beans or refried pinto beans are better), Office-watching parties, packing/moving/unpacking parties, and more that accompanied this dish. As a result, it’s kind of a comfort food for me. :)
A year or two ago I made Sarah tell me everything she was doing as she made it so that I could write down a recipe for it, but between losing the recipe, finding it when I moved, and then being busy with moving and settling in, I’ve only just now gotten around to trying it out. It definitely didn’t compare to when Sarah made it (especially since I used store-bought tortillas), but it was delicious, and Corwin loved it, too.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: One of the best things about this dish is that it’s incredibly cheap to make but is delicious and makes leftovers. Perfect combination.
Sarah’s Chicken and Rice
Ingredients: rice, vegetable oil, diced chicken breast, water, plain tomato paste, concentrated chicken stock, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt, black pepper (optional)
- Put however much rice you want (1.25 C generally makes about 4 servings) to make in a pan without water over medium heat and brown it. The kernels will change from translucent to solid white (if the rice actually turns brown, it’s starting to burn). Shake the pan periodically so that the rice is evenly heated, then remove it from the heat and set it aside in a bowl.
- Pour enough vegetable oil in the pan to coat the bottom of the pan, then cook the chicken in the pan until it’s almost completely cooked. Leave it just a little pink so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Add the rice back into the pan with the chicken and add just a little less water than the recipe for cooking the rice calls for (for example, if you’re cooking 1.25 C rice and it calls for 2.5 C water, use 2.25 C water instead).
- Stir in just enough plain tomato paste until the water looks red (tomato soup color), then add about 1 t chicken stock. Sprinkle an even seasoning of each onion powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin across the top of the pan, then sprinkle a little more of each. Taste a little of the liquid and add more seasonings (particularly cumin), if needed. Add a little salt and, if you want, black pepper.
- Let the mixture come to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Check it partway through to make sure the rice on the bottom isn’t burning (unless you like it like you like your paella, a little crusty). Also check that there’s still some moisture left and sprinkle a little more water over it if needed. You want the rice to be dry enough to clump together (not soupy), but not dried out.
- Mix the tomato paste that separated to the top back into the rice and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, tortillas (preferably homemade), and refried beans. I’d recommend eating the beans on the side and everything else together. :)