I love chicken and rice--it’s simple and versatile. When I was a kid, we had chicken at least three times a week. My mom was a huge fan of roasted, on the bone chicken breasts. My absolute favorite was when she’d make rice on the side. I’d immediately remove all of my chicken from the bone, shred it, and mix it in with my rice. I was forever in love. Really--I still love it to this day!
When I was a teenager and met my (future) husband, I lucked out. His mom makes amazing chicken and rice. She’s from Honduras, and put a whole new spin on it in my eyes. Hers has carrots, peas, potatoes and green olives. She had me hooked!
She doesn’t make it all the time, though--and since she’s moved to Florida, if I want a chicken and rice fix, I need to make it myself. My oldest loves it as much as I do, and every now and them, she gets a craving for it. This recipe is a quickie version I came up with years ago, when I was just really a beginner in cooking. It’s got all of the elements from my mother in law’s chicken and rice, plus it’s quick and easy. When I was just starting out, this was a great pantry meal for us, because I could use frozen carrots and peas and a rice mix. All I needed to buy fresh was a couple of potatoes and the chicken. It makes a good amount, too--and leftovers are always welcome--and occasionally fought over.
Have you ever tried Goya products? If you haven’t, you need to check out their product list. I use their stuff all the time--most often their canned beans and tomatoes, oils and spices. They have a great selection, and the quality is wonderful. It seems like they have a million and one things to choose from! While you’re there, look around the site--it’s full of information and fantastic recipes! I know, because I’ve made quite a few of them over the years.
Chicken and Rice
serves a small crowd
-if I had to nail it down, I'd say 5-6 people
Goya Olive Oil
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 cups water
2 (8 oz) boxes Goya Yellow Rice
1/2-1 cup Goya Green Olives, sliced
1 1/4 cup diced carrots, about 1/2 inch in size
2 medium baking potatoes, partially baked and diced into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes*
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
*First up--partially baking the potatoes: Scrub the potatoes, pierce a couple times with a fork, then microwave on a plate for about 6-7 minutes. This will depend on the size of your potatoes, and the size of your microwave. I have a small microwave, so generally, things take longer for me. You don't want the potatoes fully done--they should still be firm to the touch, but have a little give. Let them cool for a few minutes, then dice them. I do this all the time for breakfast potatoes. Partially cooking them first makes them cook faster when sautéing in a pan.
-Sauté the carrots and potatoes in a large skillet with a bit of oil--and give them a little dusting of Adobo, onion and garlic powders. Try to get a nice bit of browning going on the potatoes, as this will add nice flavor to the finished dish. When they're done, remove from pan and set aside.
-Sprinkle the chicken pieces with Adobo and black pepper. In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid (And I do mean large-you'll be adding everything to this pan eventually. I used a 12 inch skillet.), heat a couple tbsp of olive oil, and sauté the chicken until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
-Add the water, and deglaze the pan--scraping up all of the good stuff in the bottom. Bring water to a boil, stir in the two rice pouches, and the potatoes and carrots. Return to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test the rice at 20 minutes. If it's still a bit on the chewy side, give it the extra 5 minutes.
-When the rice is cooked through, stir in the peas and olives.** The heat from everything else will heat the peas through. Now eat!
- **There are two schools of thought on the olives--stirring in, or on the side. I like them stirred in, but not everyone likes olives, so you can serve them on the side for those that want them.
- This does make a lot, so if you have leftovers, it’s a great base for a soup! Add them to some broth, heat it all up and add some extra veggies and rice, if you like.
- I know what some of you may be thinking…the rice is from a box. Yes, it is. Do I normally use boxed mixes? No. But for this, I make the exception. It’s a recipe I came up with years ago, and we truly love it!