Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicken Week, Day 1: Rice and Beans

Angela said something over the weekend that stuck with me. "I don't understand why people look down on a boiled chicken." Coming on the heels of my friend Laurie describing a chicken soup recipe that to me seemed to be more chicken than soup and similarly boiled, well. It wasn't a challenge, but I figured I might as well take it as one.

I boiled a chicken last night, and as it was merrily bubbling away an idea formed.

We buy a lot of food in any given week - I love to screw around in the kitchen and we both love to eat, but more often than not a good portion of it ends up stowed in the back of the cabinet or prepared and frozen, never to be seen again. But the chicken in the pot is a substantial amount of protein - add that to the various starches and canned stuff in the pantry and I figure I can save us a sizable chunk of change this month by not going grocery shopping this week.

What the hell. Worst-case scenario, I don't fee like eating chicken for awhile.

For reference, I boiled the chicken in water and white wine with a handful of spices (basil, sage, bay leaves, garlic, celery salt and cumin) and a few almost-but-not-quite past their prime vegetables from the fridge (two onions, two carrots and a tomato). When I pulled the chicken out of the pot and separated it out into its component parts, I ended up with:
  • 1 whole chicken breast, slightly dry and shredded (most of it will go to sandwiches for lunch).
  • 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, still clinging slightly to their bones.
  • 8 cups half-strained stock, most of which went to the freezer.
  • a whole bunch of bones, cartilage and skin.
The dark meat and bones went back into a pot after resting in the fridge overnight - it was going to take some work to separate the meat from the other stuff so I figured boiling the hell out of the stuff again should make it easier to work with.

Dinner for the night ended up as this:
Rice and beans with a twist. Nothing particularly fancy, but the simplicity of it belies the satisfaction it produces. It's the South Carolina-style barbecue sauce that makes it.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup red beans
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups shredded dark meat chicken
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Sour Cream and cheddar cheese as garnish

The Gist:

Cook the rice with the chicken broth in one pot; boil the beans in another one with a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper in the water. The rice should take 30 minutes or so, and the beans (assuming you didn't soak them overnight; I didn't) should take between 45 minutes and an hour.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the diced onion and the garlic and saute, then add the chicken. Heat through and set aside.

Combine the barbecue sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes or so.

Combine the three in whatever manner you see fit, top with sour cream and cheddar and serve.

This will feed 2-3, but it scales easily. It also produces a TON of leftover rice and beans; tune in tomorrow for what happens with them.

1 comment:

captainlaurie said...

Mmmm, boiled chicken. Maybe it's because I'm half Irish and half German, but I have a certain respect for boiled meat.