I had a bit of tomato paste and some chicken stock in the fridge, as well as a couple of overripe tomatoes. I used a couple of chicken breasts and some rice to make a one dish meal that was both tasty and satisfying.
Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks, about 3 per breast. Rub with:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
In a hot pan, with a bit of olive oil, brown both sides of the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and set aside until needed.
In the same pan, cook until softened and lightly coloured:
1 small onion, diced
a 2" piece of zucchini, diced
Season with salt and pepper while cooking.
When the vegetables are starting to colour, add:
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes
1 1/2 cups rice (I used basmati)
Cook, stirring for a minute, until the rice is well combined with the vegetables.
Add to this mixture:
1 cup of chicken stock
Allow the chicken stock to come to a boil, then scrape the mixture into an ovenproof dish that has been lightly greased.
Nestle the browned chicken pieces into the rice and vegetables, and add in:
3 - 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Whisk 2 tablespoons of tomato paste into:
2 cups chicken stock
Pour this over the rice and vegetables, covering them as shown. Cover the dish with foil and place in a 350F oven to bake.
Bake until the rice is cooked - soft and fluffy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed. This takes between 45 - 60 minutes. Remove from the oven every 20 minutes for a quick stir and to check on the progress of the rice. If it is cooking and absorbing the liquid too quickly, add a bit more liquid before returning it to the oven.
I served this with some roasted multi-coloured carrots on the side.
- This amount of paprika and oregano gave just the right amount of flavour, but if you like more heat, add more paprika, or even a bit of cayenne pepper.
- To peel, seed and chop the tomatoes, follow this procedure:
- Canned tomatoes can be used instead. Use as many as you would like in your rice, saving the rest for another use.
- Any type of rice can be used. Just be sure to check the rice : liquid ratio for the variety you choose, and adapt it accordingly.Long grained varieties work well; you want to have separate grains when it is cooked. A lot of short grain varieties have a large amount of starch and this could end up being a big gummy mess.
- Make sure the dish you choose is large enough to allow for the expansion of the rice during cooking.
- Water can be used in place of all, or part of, the chicken stock. A small amount of red or white wine can also be used, around 1/2 cup is a good amount.
- Other vegetables to consider adding are: red peppers, chick peas (this got voted down when I was making this), frozen green peas, mushrooms or green olives.
- Chicken thighs, with or without skin and/or bone, would be a great choice for this. If you choose to make this with seafood, bake it without the fish until the rice is almost done, then add the fish/shellfish and return to the oven to finish cooking. This will allow your rice and vegetables to cook properly without compromising the quality of the fish by overcooking it. Browned sausages such as Italian or chorizo can also be used, whole or cut into chunks.
- Leftover rice is a flavorful addition to a wrap or breakfast burrito. The chicken can be shredded up and added to wraps, pizza toppings or pasta sauces.