When I cook rice, I usually use basmati rice. I happen to have both white and brown basmati rice in the pantry right now, and because we all prefer the white, the brown is not getting used up as quickly. I decided to work on using it up...I felt that the nuttier, crunchier texture would work well with a Mexican style rice along with corn, beans (in the freezer) and the 3 soft tomatoes that were in the fridge.
The meat part of the meal consisted of a couple of chicken breasts that I marinated in the juice from the last lime in the house, paired with a bit of honey and dried chipotle. The chicken was grilled, thinly sliced and put on top of the rice.
Make the marinade for the chicken by combining:
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon dried chipotle
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil
Pour the marinade over the chicken breasts, cover and refrigerate while the rice is cooking.
To start the rice, heat some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Cook over medium heat until the cumin starts to crack and pop.
3/4 medium onion, diced
Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion starts to soften, without colouring.
Now add the rice:
2 cups brown basmati rice
1 teaspoon chili powder
Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until the rice is coated with the olive oil.
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 cups of chicken stock
Bring to a boil.
Add the tomatoes:
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped.
When the liquid is at a full boil, turn the heat down to simmer, and cover the pot.
Leave the rice to cook, covered, until it is tender; it will still have a bit of a crunch, white rice won't.
If you feel that the liquid is absorbing faster than the rice is cooking, add a bit more liquid as needed.
Taste, and adjust seasoning.
3/4 cup white kidney beans
3/4 cup frozen corn
Put the lid back on, turn off the heat and allow the heat from the rice to steam the beans and corn, heating them up.
While the rice is cooking, you can grill the chicken breasts. Try and time it so that they are done at the same time...
Grill the chicken on a hot grill. There is enough olive oil in the marinade to prevent sticking.
Save the marinade and use it to baste the chicken as it cooks.
When it is fully cooked, remove the chicken from the BBQ and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing it.
Serve the rice in a bowl, topped with the sliced chicken. I added some diced avocado and grated jalapeno jack cheese, and sprinkled it with chopped green onions.
- Any rice can be used, however short or medium grain rice will result in a stickier end product. Use the right amount of liquid for the type of rice you are using. The post Rice has some guidelines.
- I have a small bottle of chipotle infused olive oil, so I used some of that along with extra virgin olive oil when cooking the rice. Other flavour infused olive oils that can be used include garlic, lime, cilantro. Avocado oil could be used as well.
- Cooking the cumin seeds first toasts them and releases some of the oils, giving a more intense cumin flavour to the dish. Ground cumin could be used instead; add it with the chili powder.
- Keep in mind that the tomatoes will release liquid, so it is better to err on the side of caution. As I mentioned above, you can always add a bit more liquid if you feel that it is needed.
- I only had 1 cup of chicken stock, so I used water for the balance. You can use all water if you like, you can also use vegetable stock.
- Canned tomatoes can be substituted for the fresh; squeeze some of the liquid out and dice them before adding to the rice.
- I use a Mexican chili powder blend. It is full of flavour but not blow-your-head-off spicy. More heat can be added by using dried chili flakes, chipotle chilies (dried or in adobo sauce) or dried ancho chilies.
- My initial plan was to use black beans, but I saw the half can of white kidney beans in the freezer when I was grabbing the corn and used those instead. One less thing to use up! That being said, black beans will add a lovely colour contrast against the rice and corn.
- If you have fresh corn on the cob, grill it and then slice the kernels off and add those instead of frozen corn.
- Diced red peppers, minced cilantro, minced jalapeno peppers would all be good additions to the rice.
- When making the marinade for the chicken, use the adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies if you have some on hand. I used dried chipotle chili.
- Lime zest will intensify the lime in the marinade...the skin of my older lime was a bit too hard to zest, but the inside was extra juicy. Lemon or orange could be used instead of lime.
- No fresh limes? The juice of 1 lime is equal to approximately 2 tablespoons.
- Sour cream, salsa and extra cheese can be passed at the table.
- This was enough to feed 4 people, with leftovers for 2 lunches the next day.