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Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's for Dinner, Wild? (In which I channel my inner Alton Brown...)

I thought I might change things up a little and include a recipe post, since all the cool kids do it! I really enjoy cooking, but with just the Mr. and me, I don’t get too fancy too often. This isn’t fancy either, just a favourite dinner that combines simple ingredients in a really yummy way. It’s made even simpler with help from your local Costco. Without further ado, I present: Garlic Pepper Chicken and Brazilian Rice, with step by step pictures, yet!!!


Here’s what you need to start:

Brazilian Rice:

1 cup long rain white rice*

25 ml (1/8 cup) vegetable oil (Plain old canola works just fine: tart it up with EVOO if you wanna)

about 2/3 of a medium onion, diced

½ tsp minced pure garlic (I don't mince my own: I use a 100% pure minced garlic product)

Coarse ground black pepper to taste

Better than Bouillon paste, Chicken Flavour

2 cups hot water



(Lovely food stylist shot here...)
Directions:

Heat oil in a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.

Combine onions, garlic, and black pepper. (You could also throw in just a pinch of kosher salt here, but I forgot today)

(I admit...I don't like onions. Never have, never will. HOWEVER, I double the amount the recipe calls for, and chop them coarser, because I like the flavour they give the rice.
 Yes,  it's contradictory: have you MET me?

A tip to start:  wash your rice. I know, you stopped washing rice a long time ago, right? Me too.


(Washed rice in my lovely big Pampered Chef Measure and Pour!)
DON’T!! Washing rice helps break down the starches and gives you a much fluffier finished product. Plus it’s fun! Just fill a bigger bowl than you need with warm water and rub the rice together between your palms until the water looks more like milk! (Also, I have to say, I think the rice water is good for softening my hands. More research required.) Drain carefully.

Brown in hot oil until golden (or until it smells right! HA!) Then, pour in your washed rice and let it pick up the lovely flavours of the browned onion garlic mixture.


(A tad more browned than usual, due to a wicked headcold...)
Now. About this here bouillon paste.


(Happily accepting endorsements, should any be forthcoming...)

I like the flavour of this better than any other bouillon around. It comes in Chicken, Beef, Pork, Vegetable and Turkey flavours. This is my personal spin on the original recipe, true, but I’ll never buy anything else but this again. Add a generous half teaspoon to your hot water.

Pour over hot rice mixture and bring to a boil.


Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Serve immediately as a side dish. This is portioned for 4 servings, but I swear I could eat the whole thing myself.

Costco Garlic Pepper Chicken

This comes oven-ready, so it's not really a recipe as much as it is a pointer. If you haven't had it before, I highly recommend it! It is a really nice blend of chili, garlic and other spices, marinating nice thick split chicken breasts with the backs removed. Because it's Costco, it comes 5 breasts to a package, so I either split it into packages of 3 and 2, or I cook it all and make really yummy flavourful sandwiches the next day with the leftovers. They would be really yummy thrown into leftover Indian food.



(Once again, happy to endorse...)

Here are my tips: Cook it in a Pyrex baking dish. It's relatively easy to clean and you get even heat, whether your oven is predictable or not (mine is not!)

Cook it about 350 degrees (more if you have a 'slow' oven. Again, mine is not. It's fast. In other words, the heat isn't accurate and if I don't want my meals to burn I either have to adjust temperature or timing or both) for about 50 minutes.



(Rest well, little chickens...)

Then, pull it out of the oven and let it sit, foil covered, while you put the meal together. I think I read this tip on Mrs. B's blog, and I am following it from now on. To this, let me add...never EVER cook your chicken breasts with the skin OFF. Ever. Give it to your hubby to eat, or the cat, or the dog, or throw it away if you must, but cooking chicken breasts with the skin on makes 'em taste better and keeps them more moist!

So...there you have it, and here's how it looked all plated up.

(Yummo, indeed!)

Don't you wish you'd been here?


Enjoy!

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