|The Lott's Chicken and Rice|
We don't have the extreme problems they have but nevertheless, it's still very cold here. And even though I confess I'm (already) getting a bit tired of winter food, there is a simple one-pot recipe that always hits the spot, no matter. It warms you up and that's just what I need/want for dinner tonight. My Pappy and Mammy Lott were the best at making Chicken and Rice. Not by any means an elaborate dish, no swanky presentation, just a piping hot bowl that comfort's like nobody's business. It's the only thing our family really wants to eat when any of us get a cold or flu in the winter. It hugs you and then tucks you in. It's culinary medicine, y'all.
My version remains simple just like my grandparent's recipe, but I do tweak a bit. Chicken and Rice is a simple dish, but not really that easy. To achieve the perfect consistency, there's a few steps that must be exact. The timing needs to be spot on or the result is too dry with squishy overdone rice. Adding too much stock to rice ratio can result in soup, not Chicken and Rice. Now, mind you, I prefer mine a bit soupy, not to say swimming in broth, but not dry either.
I also like to add a bit of green onion and at times a veggie, such as zucchini when in season. Finely diced carrot or fresh English peas are also delicious. It's a recipe that is open to interpretation or can remain as plain as a Puritan. But the must for me is at serving time, the pièce de résistance, lemon. I adore lemon and lime and orange and grapefruit, all citrus really. Citrus juice and zest are indispensable in my daily cooking. And lemon is precisely the right acidic spritz to cut the richness of the chicken, add brightness to the stock and pair perfectly with the aromatic rice. My grandparents would never have added lemon or green onions and veggies in season, but if they could be with me tonight (God rest their souls) I bet they'd like my version.
Chicken and Rice isn't indigenous to the South or to Louisiana either, but since we're a rice producing state it's a very common favorite, hereabouts. We cook lots of recipes that call for rice and for me chicken is a great partner. Let's begin...
Note: This recipe would serve 4 people easily. It can be adjusted for your needs. I used 4 large chicken thighs and 1-1/2 cups rice.
The Lott's Chicken and Rice
4 to 6 chicken thighs
1 box of chicken stock
Water if needed
1-1/2 - 2 cups raw white long grain rice
3 or 4 chopped green onions (both white and green)
Into a stock or soup pot add the chicken thighs and enough stock to cover. If the stock doesn't cover the chicken, add enough water to do so. Bring up the heat to just below a boil, but quickly reduce to low/medium simmer to poach the chicken. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is just done. Remove to a platter and cool. Then de-bone into bite sized pieces.
|Chicken thighs ready for the stock|
|Poaching in a pot of stock|
|Rinsing the rice|
Note: The only exception I can think of at the moment is in Risotto making. Here you would want to begin with dry rice and the Arborio rice used for this is meant to be starchy to create the characteristic creaminess of Risotto.
|Pearly rice drifting into the chicken stock|
|Big pot of luscious comfort|
|Chicken and Rice with another burst of lemon, served with a hot slice of Cornbread|
It's just right!