I’ve just started the annual Summer Blogger Bash. If you’d like a permalink to my site, check it out. Will go until October 1, 2011. Now, onto the food. I will share with you today, what I made for dinner yesterday. Chicken and Rice. Sounds boring, but it’s not. Here’s a picture. It looks pretty good, but it tastes even better.
I researched gazpacho for a few days and decided that my family probably wouldn’t go for the “cold soup” thing. It’s quite a leap and I can already imagine their response, so I’m going with another angle. They might accept gazpacho if I were to make it a sauce. Yes! And, what if I added the boys’ most favorite food in the world…chicken tenders? Perhaps..everyone might eat it. Yes!
So, this chicken and rice is not boring it at all. In fact it’s downright exciting, spicy and fresh. I “fancied it up” with some spanish, summery, spicy notes, just for you, my wonderful, readers. To make it vegetarian I just omit the chicken while plating it and I add some cooked lentils with the garnish of roasted peppers and tomatoes, offering a fast vegetarian..no, wait… vegan! Yes, this is vegan. I wasn’t even trying to go vegan, but look at me all vegany, today.
If you come from a blended family like ours, I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian and my family of ravenous boys are all meat eaters, this way of cooking everything separately comes in very handy. Adjust the heat level to your liking. My family eats it as it’s written, but if you want to omit some of the spices, I encourage you to do so. The little ones will need the heat level adjusted if they want to eat the sauce, most likely, unless of course, you have a kid who likes a little kick in their food. In which case, that’s pretty awesome and I’m a little jealous of you. But, I digress. I’ll take this one as a complete win. I made one meal and everyone ate it, which is fantastic.
In fact, the boys and Mike especially raved about it. That is my ultimate reward.
Chicken and Rice with Gazpacho Sauce
For the Gazpacho Sauce:
- 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves roasted and then smashed
- 2 cups chopped, peeled and seeded tomatoes
- 1 large roasted green pepper (or red or yellow pepper, if you prefer) , seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns freshly ground
- 1 1/2 teaspoon piment D’espelette
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Note: Roast and prepare all vegetables ahead of time. Roast, peel and rough chop the bell pepper. Blanch, peel, seed and roughly chop about 6 tomatoes. And, roast, peel and smash garlic cloves. Place vegetables in air tight container and place in refrigerator the day before you make this dish, making it a fast and easy option with amazing, well developed, flavor.
To roast veggies: Turn on the broiler. Wash tomatoes, chop in half with top removed and place on baking sheet seed side down. Wash green pepper, slice in half and remove stem and seeds. Wrap head or cloves of garlic in foil to roast. Place all veggies on pans (insides down), in preheated broiler and roast for about 6 – 10 minutes or until skin gets blistered. Remove from heat and place tomatoes and peppers in large, glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the garlic cool in the foil. When cool enough to handle remove skins of everything (tomatoes, peppers and garlic) and give everything a quick, rough, chop. Place together in air tight container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before use.
Place medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add prepared vegetables to hot pan. Add salt, pepper, kosher salt black peppercorns (freshly ground), piment D’espelette, cumin. Stir and taste. Add red wine vinegar and additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Blend for smooth texture.
For the Rice:
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 1/4 cups white, long grain, rice
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic, roasted, peeled and smashed (about 1 teaspoon if you roast your garlic in large batches)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: In a large pot on medium high heat add olive oil and rice. Toast rice, stirring once every 2 minutes or so, for about ten minutes, or until rice is golden brown. Meanwhile, a separate medium pot, combine vegetable stock, bay leaf and roasted garlic. Also the cumin and lentils if you’re using them (both are optional) bring the stock mixture to a boil. When rice is toasted and stock has boiled, add stock mixture to toasted rice. Remove bay leaf. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for another 15 -20 minutes and remove from heat leave covered until all the liquid is absorbed. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
For the Chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
- 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
Directions: In a large air tight container or bag, place refrigerated chicken with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Seal bag and leave it alone, to bring to room temperature. When chicken is at room temperature, add breadcrumbs and chopped tarragon. Shake to evenly coat all chicken tenders.
Preheat broiler (for broiler) or grill pan (for stove top method, if you prefer) that has been brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Place chicken on preheated pan and grill or broil for 5 minutes. Turn all tenders over and grill for 4 minutes more, or until done (not pink).
For the Garnish: chopped peppers and tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped, green bell peppers
- 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes.
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup cooked lentil beans (optional)
Directions: Place all ingredients in baking dish and place in preheated broiler or grill pan and cook on high for 8-10 minutes, just to gently roast the vegetables to maximize flavor.
Note: Assemble plate with sauce on bottom, then rice and top with chicken. Garnish with additional peppers and tomatoes.