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How can I make my chicken and rice a good dinner?

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Here's how it goes for me:

 

Chopped onion which I cook in oil for a bit. I add some garlic later and some peas and sweetcorn later on. 

 

I fry some chicken breast in some oil and add fajita spice to it. 

 

I put all that together in with some rice and mix it around. 

 

The result is so bland and boring and there's no cohesion. I added both soy sauce and hot sauce to try and make it more exciting tonight. 

 

The question is, what should I do to make this dinner better?

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Just changing the order would help a bit, brown off the chicken in the oil and spice (most spice reacts well to being cooked off in oil like this and develops better flavour), not for too long, just so the outsides brown a little and not pink, then take the chicken out onto a side plate, then cook onion (I'd lob some garlic in) in the nicely flavoured oil/brown bits left in pan, this will deglaze the pan of any chicken flavours and keep all in your dish. Bit of carrot here would be nice too, small dice, even frozen, table spoon of tomato concentrate cooked off would add a flavour too.

 

Is your rice pre cooked or dried - best way to get flavour in this I'd say is to use uncooked rice and chuck in the pan with veg (again you're getting the spice/flavour to coat the rice) and cook it in stock (veg bouillon would be great, chicken stock better). Just put dry rice in, coat it up in your onion/spice mix, then add in stock and chicken back in to finish cooking whilst rice cooks with the lid on.

 

frozen peas/sweetcorn can go in very late as just need to warm thru rather than cook fully.

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Does it have to be chicken breast? Thighs are much tastier. Supermarkets sell boneless skinless (the latter annoys me, but I understand people don't like it for health reasons) chicken thighs.

 

I'm thinking this kind of thing:

 

 

It's the technique that's important.

 

Personally I like doing braised chicken legs/thighs with chorizo, waxy potatoes, red peppers (the roasted kind you get in the jar is good), paprika, cayenne, black pepper, herbs if you fancy (e.g oregano), MSG, lemon (you can sear them on a very hot cast iron), white wine/cider. stock, tinned plum tomatoes, tomato puree. Serve with plain rice.

 

Another one you could try is:

 

Chicken legs/thighs, soy, honey/orange juice/marmalade/mirin/rice wine, tenderstem broccoli (add later so it doesn't overcook)/spring onions/pak choi. Serve with plain rice.

And another one from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt:

 

 

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If you’ve got a slow cooker, it’s great for combining flavours. 

 

 

Failing that, marinate your chicken over night. Seasoning chicken at the time you’re cooking it is nigh on pointless.

 

Dice it and chuck a tablespoon or two of yoghurt in with some minced garlic and ginger. Add some cumin, coriander and chilli powder. Cover it and pop it in the fridge over night. 

 

By the time you cook it, it’ll taste much better regardless of how you actually do it. 

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Chicken and chorizo jambalaya

 

Fry the chicken in done oil until it's browned, then take it out the pan

Fry some chorizo and onions until browned. About half way through, add some garlic and Cajun seasoning

Throw in some chopped peppers

Tip in the rice and double the volume of chicken stock

Add the chicken back and simmer until the rice is cooked

 

You can substitute the chorizo for your sausage of choice. My kids like it with chorizo flavored sausage. At which point it becomes jambasausage.

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If I'm frequently using similar ingredients I try to theme my flavours and supplementary ingrediants around cuisines. So for chicken and rice I might try Chicken in Mushroom SauceItalian One Pot Chicken & RiceChicken Fried RiceGreen Thai Chicken CurryChicken Madras (or Gotters Butter Chicken Curry), Middle Eastern Chicken & Rice or Jerk Chicken.

 

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