Spanish Rice with Chicken & Veggies
This meal is one of our all-time favorite dishes. It's a new take on flavors from south of the border. It's an impressive meal and relatively easy to prepare. I've made this dish, start to finish in less than 30 minutes ... and it tastes like something you've been cooking all day! Very nice served with a piping hot tortilla.
Yields: 4 Cups
For a vegetarian option, substitute tofu in place of chicken*.
|Short grain brown rice||Pre cooked, 2 Cups|
|Chicken||2 oz. per Person|
|Yellow onion||1/2 Cup, diced|
|Garlic||4 cloves, minced|
|Mushroom caps||4 caps, diced|
|Red peppers||1/2 Cup, diced|
|Green peppers||1/2 Cup, diced|
|Yellow peppers||1/2 Cup, diced|
|Broccoli||1/2 Cup, diced|
|Tomato||1 Cup, diced|
|Monterey Jack cheese||1 Cup, grated|
|Tamari or soy sauce||4 tsp|
|Ground chili pepper||4 tsp|
|Ground cumin||4 tsp|
This meal is very tasty and very quick to prepare. And, even though it looks like a lot of dicing, most of it can be done while other parts are cooking. When you get good at it, the total time it takes to do this meal is about 20 minutes (if you pre-cook the rice)!
However … if you are not comfortable with multi-tasking it would be advisable to dice all the vegetables and tofu before beginning the cooking process. The choice is yours, but if you decide to dice “in process” be prepared to rock and roll once the cooking begins.
Note: With both of your burners on high, it's important that you keep stirring this meal while you're dicing so that it doesn't burn on the bottom. It keeps you hoppin'.
You’ll be cooking this meal in two skillets … a large one and a small one. In the small pan you’ll be browning the tofu cubes and, in the large pan, you’ll be sautéing the vegetables.
How to cook the chicken:
Pour enough oil in the pan to just cover the bottom and turn the heat to high. Once the small pan is sizzling hot, put in the tofu. Let the chicken brown on each side, flipping it with a spatula until all sides are evenly brown. About halfway through the browning of the chicken, add the chili powder and stir until the chicken pieces are coated evenly with chili powder. When nicely browned, add the tamari and cover quickly (…it’ll really splatter at first). As soon as the spattering calms down, turn off the burner and stir the chicken to coat evenly with tamari.
How to cook the vegetables:
Place the large skillet on a high flame and heat up enough olive oil, canola oil or safflower oil (depending on your preference) to cover the bottom of the pan.
While the oil is heating up, dice the onions, and then put it in the skillet.
While the onion is cooking dice the mushrooms and put them in.
While the mushrooms are cooking, dice the garlic and ...
You get the drift ... next are the peppers then the broccoli and finally the tomatoes. You are continuously adding veggies to a pot that is cooking the whole time.
If the veggies in the pan start to burn, turn down the heat, but it's best if this meal is cooked hot and fast.
When you’ve finished dicing and adding all the veggies to the pan, add the oregano, cumin and chili powder.
Add enough water to leave the vegetables half covered and stir it all up adding salt to taste.
Cover the pan and let it cook for about 2 minutes.
When the broccoli is bright green, add the chicken from the small plan. (For better overall flavor you can deglaze the pan with a small amount of water and then add the liquid to the vegetables)
Add all the brown rice to the pan and mix it in with the vegetables being careful to “fold” it in so you don’t beat up the veggies.
When the entire contents of the pan are heated evenly through, dish it into bowls and cover it liberally with shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
Put on some good Latin music on your iPod or stereo system and you'll get as much energy from cooking this meal as you will from eating it!
* Vegetarian Option:
How to cook the tofu: Dice the tofu and dry it on a kitchen towel before adding it to the pan. Pour enough oil in the pan to just cover the bottom and turn the heat to high. Once the small pan is sizzling hot, put in the tofu. Let the tofu brown on each side, flipping it with a spatula until all sides are evenly brown. About halfway through the browning of the tofu, add the chili powder and stir until the tofu pieces are coated evenly with chili powder. When the tofu is nicely browned, add the tamari and cover quickly (…it’ll really splatter at first). As soon as the spattering calms down, turn off the burner and stir the tofu to coat evenly with tamari.