Simple Art of Cooking: An Easy Chicken and Rice Dinner

I’m in Miami’s South Beach where my husband and I are enjoying a sojourn from the North. I know we’re lucky to have beaten some of the brutal weather in the Northeast, but I miss my beloved East End.

We’re doing some fine and fun dining out and even more dining in. To make life simpler, I’ve enjoyed some excellent take-out. A take-out roast chicken makes dinner in my Miami Beach rental simpler. The challenge is that I’m not in my bright, spacious country kitchen in Water Mill with a 5’ square marble island, professional six-burner range, stainless steel appliances and enough equipment to satisfy any professional chef.  While the basics are all here: stove, fridge, dishwasher, there are the limitations to T-Fal cookware. There’s no roasting pan in sight but some pretty good skillets such as Cuisinart; there’s no food processor but there’s a blender and a terrific electric juicer to enjoy those juicy Florida oranges, surprisingly good knives and even a cutting board.

Leftover roast chicken can become chicken salad or a chicken sandwich. The carcass can be used to make a simple stock with which I can create a stir fry, as the one I adapted from French-style roast chicken, Poulet au Vinaigre below.

CHICKEN IN WINE VINEGAR SAUCE 

Serves 4

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 to 5 scallions, trimmed rinsed and thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 Roma plum tomatoes, rinsed and halved
5 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
5 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
1 1/2 to 2 cups coarsely cut-up roast chicken, white and dark meat
Chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Cooked white or brown rice for serving

1. Heat oil in a large, 10- to 12-inch skillet, add scallions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, add garlic and sauté for 45 seconds or so. Add the tomatoes, wine, vinegar, stock, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and stir to mix. Adjust heat to medium and cook at a brisk simmer to reduce liquids by half. Add butter, if using, and stir to melt into the mixture. Taste to adjust seasoning as necessary. Can be prepared an hour or so ahead before serving.

2. Meanwhile cook the rice of your choice and divide equally onto four plates. When ready to serve, arrange the chicken pieces equally over the rice. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with fresh parsley, if using.

RICE, PERUVIAN STYLE
This is such a quick and easy rice recipe—you must try it! The rice cooks in a small amount of water so that a crust forms in the bottom of the pot. After serving the deliciously crunchy rice it will be necessary to soak the pot in hot sudsy water to clean it. It’s worth it!

Serves 4

1 cup rice, preferably basmati
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cold water
Kosher salt

1. Put the rice in a sieve and rinse well under cold water.

2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and put in the garlic. Sauté the garlic about 30 to 40 seconds or just until golden. Put in the rice, toss to coat in the oil for another 30 to 40 seconds and add the water. Bring the water to a boil and season with salt to taste. Adjust heat to a brisk simmer. Cover the pan and cook about 15 minutes until rice is almost cooked and a crust forms in the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat; the surface of the rice will have “little eyes” looking up at you. The rice will continue to cook for another 15 minutes, and will stay hot in the pot for up to 30 minutes.

Read more of Silvia’s recipes.

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