While having a weekly meal plan with organized recipes and a stocked pantry is ideal, sometimes you just gotta make dinner with whatever you have on hand. Such was the case Tuesday night. Yes, even chefs have to wing it, and often that is when wonderful things happen. Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you I whipped up a Michelin Star quality dish. But my number one customer (my Hubby) went back for thirds he loved it so much. And this is a meal you can whip up for your family on a busy school night without too much fuss.
You can tell by the title that it has chicken, rice and chorizo in it, but basically the ingredients are just bits and pieces I could find in the kitchen. It is flavorful, healthy and an all in one meal. Hubby’s favorite. A casserole or stew situation where you have the meat, veg and carb all together in one bite! What I like is that it is a recipe that is adaptable. Meaning you can improvise depending on what you have at your disposal. As you can see from the pic below, this is what I found. Key here are the spices. If you keep your pantry stocked with those you’ll be able to work wonders with any meat or veg meal!
1 skinless boneless chicken breast cut into chunks and seasoned with salt and pepper. If you have left over roasted chicken you can use that or any meat or fish. For instance shrimp would be lovely.
1/2 stick of Chorizo, casing removed, cut up into chunks
3-4 tomatoes (or you can use some from a can)
3 small shallots chopped (or you could use 1 onion chopped)
1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) chicken stock
1 cup mix of Red/Yellow/Orange Peppers chopped (or you can use green bell peppers if you have)
1 Sweet Potato (cooked and chopped. You can microwave it or roast it). Alternatively you could use garbanzo beans or lentils.
1 cup green peas
1 tsp smoked paprika
1./2 tsp ground cumin
sprinkle of mild chili pepper to your liking
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Chopped Herbs of choice such as parsley, coriander or basil (that later of which I used)
Crumbled Cheese such as Feta or Goat’s ( I used the later)
Toasted Pine Nuts
Cook chorizo in a dry frying pan (the natural oils will come out so no need to add oil to the pan before hand). Once it is cooked remove and drain on paper bowl (kitchen paper).
Pour off most of the oil but leave a bit to then cook the chicken (if using raw chicken). Once the chicken is cooked remove to a plate and keep warm.
Add a bit of oil to the pan and saute the chopped veg. Once a bit soft, add the salt and pepper and spices and cook for a bit more to bring out the flavor of the spices.
Next add the rice to the veg and cook until the rice is a bit opaque just a couple of minutes. Make sure to keep and eye and stir from time to time so the rice doesn’t burn.
Add in stock and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.
When done add in the chopped sweet potato, peas, chicken and chorizo and give a good stir. Cover the pan again to make sure that it all gets heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Just before serving toss through the freshly chopped herbs. To serve put on a plate or bowl and top with some goat cheese, pine nuts and a little fresh herb garnish.
If I make it again, I will plan in advance as I think sun dried tomatoes would add an extra bit of smokiness and also chopped celery would be a great with the other veg. Some chefs like to cook a recipe to the letter of the law. Others like to throw things together and see how it turns out. Sometimes that can be disastrous. But with basic ingredient combinations you kinda have a feeling it will be just right. And I must say the chorizo with the sweet potato combo was a lovely flavor balance. Since there are two of us and I knew one chicken breast wasn’t going to go very far, by creating a “jambalaya” dish (that is what Hubby called it) we were well fed. In fact, there were left overs for my lunch the next day. It actually tasted even better! I love that about food! The gift that keeps on giving!
P.S. Vegetarian Friends don’t fret! This meal would be equally delicious without any meat. By adding beans instead of meat and substituting veg stock for the chicken stock you’d be in total bliss with this recipe!