This is a simple recipe that we do fairly frequently; it uses packet rice and a ready-cooked chicken from the store to save time. It takes about an hour and a quarter, costs less than $10, and serves four, maybe more.
You will need:
- One ready-done seasoned roasted chicken (we get ours from Sam’s Club—we find they have the best seasonings).
- 2 regular size (7.2oz) packs of Rice-A-Roni Rice Pilaf. (This rice is especially good with fish and chicken.)
- 4 cups cold water.
- 4 tablespoons butter.
- A large, deep skillet with a lid. (We use a fairly heavy hard-anodised non-stick job.)
First, do the rice:
- Melt the butter in the skillet on medium-high heat, then dump in both packs of rice. Keep it turning until it browns. You’ll hear snapping noises when it’s getting close to done.
- Carefully (because of scalding steam) add the water a little at a time, stirring continuously.
- Turn up to high heat. Add the contents of the seasoning packets, stir in.
- When the mix starts boiling, turn the heat all the way down (you’re aiming for a really gentle simmer), and put the lid on. Set your timer for about an hour.
While the rice is going, deal with the chicken:
- There may be broth in the bottom of the container the chicken comes in; if so, drain it into something and put it to one side.
- Get the skin off; keep the crispy bits with the seasonings (the parts from the top of the breast and legs, probably) and put them to one side.
- Separate all the meat, discard the bones and fatty parts.
- Cut the meat into bite-sized chunks, about ¾”.
- Scrape any fatty junk off the seasoned skin, and chop the skin finely (it’s the seasonings you’re after here, so an alternative is to scrape those off the skin. Whichever’s easiest, and you don’t need much).
It usually takes me about 30-40 minutes to prepare the chicken, so there’s time for a tea break while I’m waiting for the rice. When the rice has had its hour, it’s time to put it all together:
- If you had some broth from the chicken, add that to the rice.
- Add the chopped skin/seasonings, stir well.
- Add the chicken, stir it all in. Put the lid back on and let it stay on a low heat for maybe ten or fifteen minutes, stirring it around once or twice. This is just to get the chicken nice and hot; you might want to turn the heat up just a little, but not so high that it burns.
You’re done! Serve with nice bread (garlic bread, maybe, or seasoned bread sticks).