Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent Chicken n' Rice

It’s such a bummer that when grilling season starts in the spring (correction: it never “stops,” it just slows down in the winter) many of those oven dishes that you reacquaint yourself over the winter months disappear.

I’m a fan of white trashy recipes, such as the classic Chicken & Rice made, of course, with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom (or Broccoli) soup glop. The whole thing is perhaps four ingredients: chicken parts, instant rice, soup/glop mix, and maybe a canned veggie thrown in for good measure.

Unfortunately I’ve grown up a bit.

So the other night I decided to give this a shot but I was grilling my chicken. Some would instantaneously say, “You’re screwed, dude. The chicken has to cook with the rice.” Au contraire mon ami. Here’s my version that’s fresher, tastier, and perhaps a bit healthier (no can of mystery glop here). It’s some work but it’s excellent. And you still get to grill your chicken.

1 whole chicken, quartered, brined in LME Chicken Brine
1 cup Jasmine rice
Chicken broth, at least 2 cups
2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florettes
2 TBS unsalted butter
¼ cup dry white wine
8 button mushrooms, stems removed, cut into eighths.
½ medium yellow onion, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TBS parsley, minced
2 cups milk (1% will work)
1 TBS flour
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grill chicken when you’re ready – this recipe will take about 45 minutes so if you put your chicken on indirect heat on the grill when you start this you’ll be done in time.

Blanch the broccoli florettes for 2 minutes in salted boiling water, drain, and cool under tap water. Set aside.

Bring 1.75 cups of chicken broth to a boil, add the rice, stir to mix and resume to boil. When boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.

In a small skillet over medium heat add 1 TBS of butter and melt. Add the mushrooms, a big pinch of salt, 5 cranks of fresh pepper and lightly sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and parsley, sauté an additional ~3 minutes, then add garlic and continue for 30 more seconds. Add the wine and simmer off. Remove mix from pan and reserve the pan to make the Béchamel.

Béchamel sauce. This is one of those things that you have to know how to do as a cook. It’s a foundation: here it is. In the pan you cooked the mushrooms add 1 TBS of butter, melt over medium heat, then add 1 TBS of flour. Stir and bring to paste that bubbles. Add 1 cup of milk and stir to mix. This will thicken up to creamy, albeit somewhat tasteless, sauce. Voila: you’ve made a “light” Béchamel sauce. A medium sauce would be 2 TBS each of butter and flour and thick would be 3 TBS each.

Transfer the rice (should be done by now) to a large bowl. Add the Béchamel, mushrooms, and three big pinches of salt and mix. Then toss in the broccoli.

In an 8x8 pan add half of the mix and sprinkle ½ cup of the cheese. Top off with remaining mix and cheese, pour 1 cup of milk over this, cover and set in the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes covered then 10 uncovered.


This may not be as salty as some would like so if “something’s” missing, add some salt.


  1. Congrats on your blog and on taking LME to the next level! The site looks terrific and so does this dish. Is the LME brine recipe on FB? I can't wait to read more. Woo hoo!

  2. Thanks Angela! Brine posted too (and yes, it's on FB too).