This dish is based on very familiar ingredients we all have on our shelves. The way the ingredients are cooked makes a huge difference in the flavor of the finished product.
If there was ever a time for brining chicken, this is it! Chicken, especially small pieces tend to dry up immensely when being sauteed. Brining helps retain the moisture in the chicken. In my opinion, the chicken looks better when cut into bite sized pieces and then sauteed. However, another method you could use is to brine chicken breast halves, and saute the halves and then cut on the diagonal into thin slices. Either way would be fine.
Even though Rice Pilaf is traditionally rice and orzo, I always add either celery, carrots. mushrooms, scallions, fresh parsley, or all of them. Its basically what I have on hand. To me, there is a world of difference between plain ol’ Rice Pilaf and my Rice Pilaf with vegetables. If you don’t have time to make the rice pilaf from scratch, you can always shortcut with boxed rice pilaf.
The caramelizing of the veggies gives the entire dish a flavorful, sweet flavor.
About 30 minutes prior, brine chicken in a concentrated brine mixture of 1/4 c. table salt and 1 qt water (mix thoroughly together before brining), in a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate while brining.
Chicken & Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Vegetables
2 Tbsp butter
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 scallions, sliced
few mushrooms, diced
3 c. low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1-1/2 c. long grain rice
In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute either, or all, finely diced carrots, sliced scallions, diced celery, and diced mushrooms on medium high heat. When somewhat soft, remove to a plate and set aside. Add a little mote butter and add orzo. Cook on medium heat until lightly browned, approx 1-2 minutes. Watch them, once they start to turn brown they are done. If they cook too much and burn, throw them out and brown some more. They only take a minute. Put the veggies you just sauteed back into the saucepan and add 3 c. chicken broth, 1-1/2 c. rice and 1 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley. Cook, covered on low until all water is absorbed, and rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
2 Tbsp butter
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
While rice is cooking, in a large skillet, saute sliced green peppers, sliced onions and sliced mushrooms in butter, on high until lightly browned. Turn heat down to medium and cook until nice and caramelized. Set aside.
1 whole boneless, skinless brined chicken breast (kosher chicken does not need brining)
In the same pan, add a little oil or butter, and saute chicken pieces until lightly browned (almost caramelized looking). Flip pieces over and cook the other side.
Add the sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms to the pan with the chicken pieces, along with the rice.
This was so good for leftovers, I ate it twice for lunch!