Photo by Dorin Vancea (Flickr/cc)
by Biz Harris
On my second date with my now-husband, I cooked him dinner. I made the very best recipe in my arsenal… Shrimp and Grits with Sauteed Spinach. I’m pretty sure it would have knocked him to his knees if he hadn’t already been so nervous that he could only eat two bites. On our third anniversary, I had two live lobsters shipped from Maine to remind us of our honeymoon in Nova Scotia. They arrived on my doorstep all salty and wriggling, and I almost died. How could I touch these guys to put them in the fridge, much less boil them until they screamed?
That night, we had pasta with butter instead (and also had two pets until a friend came over who wasn’t too squeamish to cook them).
From now on, when we do a special meal, I stick to food I know he loves. My family’s chicken and rice recipe hits the spot every time I make it, so it’s one of my go-to dishes. Learn from my mistakes… the next time you’re cooking for a lover, don’t feel like you have to pull out the big guns to impress them with your kitchen chops. Consider what they like, what you cook well — even if it’s simple or no-frills — and go all-in. Breakfast for dinner? Burgers on the grill? If you make it yourself and make it good, how can it not be a special meal?
Chicken and Rice
What you need:
4-6 pieces of chicken (dark meat is best here)
½ stick of unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. uncooked rice
2 cans beef consomme plus one cup water (or 3 tablespoons beef stock dissolved in 3 cups water)
1 Chopped Onion
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 can mushroom stems and pieces
1 package of slivered almonds
What to do:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Season and brown the chicken in butter in a large stock pot or dutch oven.
- Set the chicken aside. Pour ¼ cup of the beef stock into the pan to deglaze what the chicken left.
- Using 2 tablespoons of the butter, saute the onions until translucent in the same pan, and then melt the rest of the butter in the pot.
- Pour in the rice and stir it for a few minutes to brown it. Once the color has turned a bit, brown in color to release the delicious flavor of the rice.
- Combine all the other ingredients except the almonds into the pot. First, pour in the stock, the seasonings, and the mushrooms, then check to make sure that you have enough liquid in the pan with the beef stock to cover the rice just a bit.
- Put the Chicken on top of the rice mixture, and then sprinkle the almonds on the top. Cover and bake for about an hour, at 350 degrees, or until the rice is cooked all the way through and the liquid has been absorbed, and serve.