I can’t tell you whether this chicken & rice recipe freezes well because whenever I’ve made it, there’s usually only enough leftover for one person to have a portion for lunch the next day. This recipe is a staple at my house – and probably Hannah’s, too – for several reasons. First, it’s dead easy; second, you don’t have to really chop anything, so prep and cleanup are minimal; third, the ingredients are all pantry and fridge staples; and fourth, if you’re like me and keep chicken breasts (and sometimes thighs) in your freezer, you’ve got yourself the makings of a very easy, extremely delicious meal.
I’d had Scott Peacock’s The Gift of Southern Cooking for a few years before I tried his grandmother’s recipe shortly after my daughter was born. In my tired, busy, run-down state, it was revelatory. It was so, so good and laughably easy, and while it takes a little time on the stove, it’s a snap even for the most sleep-deprived among us. Best of all, everyone in my house loved it, even my then-preschooler, who was entering a very picky phase.
The recipe calls for a whole, cut up chicken, and I’ve used that before, but in a mostly I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, and to compensate for the flavor that I won’t be getting from the skin and bones from the chicken, I substitute chicken stock instead of water. For true ease of freezing, I am in love with the Coleman Organic chicken breasts and thighs that come in Cryovac packages that Costco sells (Ah, Costco. Have I posted anything yet that doesn’t mention Costco?)
Everything you need: the recipe, a pot, rice, chicken stock, salt, handy frozen chicken packs (here, it’s 2 large breasts and about 4 thighs), an onion, and a celery stalk, plus a few extra celery leaves. The only prep work is peeling the onion and cutting it in half.
Watch the amount of salt that you add – the broth really should be on the salty side, but if you’re using commercial stock, you should be sure to taste before you add more. Also, I highly recommend using a creamy short-grain rice, like Arborio. The dish is perfectly fine with regular long-grain rice, but it’s sublime with short-grain rice.
This serves 4 to 6 people – we generally feed two adults, two children, and have some leftover for lunch the next day. Serve with something green – pole beans, a salad – and you’re good to go.