Where have I been? Off having a good time doing other things, tee hee.
Well, I had a hankerin’ for a good ol’ American casserole a while back. Something rich with juicy flavors that satisfies down to your toes. Hip to that? Had planned on the standard chicken, rice, creamy condensed soup with a few additions recipe. It’s easy and would satisfy.
Wanna come see what I came up with instead?
As I was waltzing in to the Berkeley Farmer’s Market for fun and merriment (buying meat), it hit me. A light went off in my head about the size of a … light bulb. I’m a huge fan of the 25 to 40 watters in my home. Anyway, I could combine the Mexican Creamy Poblano Rice recipe and chicken parts in my clay cooker! It has it all, meat pieces, rice, creamy goodness with the happy green added by the chile pepper.
What took a little logistical thinking was the fact if I just toss everything in at once, like a casserole, the El Salvadorean Crema will break, not good. It was going to have to be a multi-stage situation. Plus, I know how much moisture this clay roaster thing retains, so I decided against adding the milk & onion. Note to self, add the onion next time you goof!
In went a cup of rice, 2 cups chicken broth, laid in 2 chicken leg/thigh portions. Install a pat of butter top of each piece of chicken with salt & fresh ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 350, rack on bottom.
Let’s take a moment here, sit down. While this recipe and the rice dish I sent you a link to, on its own is a pretty easy situation. But, making rice can be daunting for some. Rice takes practice to get it right, especially if you’re making a new recipe for yourself. To get a really good feel on how to make this come out right, it might be easier to do the rice dish just by itself first. It’s tricky, in that you have to mostly cook the rice first and get most of the broth soaked up. Then you stir in the milk & crema, stir and recook until perfect (without breaking the milk products). I remade the rice dish last Friday and the rice wasn’t quite done, enough. I ended up using it in a soup of leftovers, so it all came out great in the end. Mmm, kay?
I had to take another moment and figure out the timing of all this. How much time did I think this whole dish would take to cook if I just put it in the oven? I figured about an hour or a little over would do just fine. At what point should I pull the roaster and stir in the crema and add the fire roasted chile pepper? I figured it’d take maybe 10 or so minutes for the casserole to heat up and get going, so I would set my timer for 40 minutes and check it at that point.
Install covered dish to a preheated oven. I set my timer for 40 minutes.
Cause you have 40 minutes, fire roast, peel the poblano chile pepper. Small dice. Measure out the 1/2 cup crema and set to the side.
At 40 minutes, pulled roaster. Removed chicken, stirred in the crema and chile peppers. Laid the chicken back in, put the lid back on, reinstalled to oven for another 40 minutes.
Twice during that time I pulled the roaster and stirred the rice.
After 80 minutes, removed the lid, jacked the oven to 500 degrees and browned the chicken a bit, maybe 10 minutes or so. Daaaaang, 500 is hot!
1 cup rice, good El Salvadorean or similar white rice that cooks in 20 or so minutes
2 cups chicken broth
2 or so pats of butter
1/2 small dice onion
1 fire roasted, peeled and small diced poblano chile pepper
1/2 cup crema or sour cream
Times and temperatures will vary mostly due to differences in cookers. It’s all about observation, taste and textures to get it right.
This one deserves a large YEEHAAAWWW !!! Man, I totally didn’t screw this up. The rice came out absolutely perfect in texture, taste and richness. Not only did it soak up everything I stirred in, but the chicken fat running off the chicken put the final touch on it.
I ate the whole thing in one sitting, it was that good.