Fierce Foodie: Lucky Recipes
I am not the kind of person for whom happiness comes easily or naturally. Give me a good thing and my mind will do its very best to run it into the ground with constant thoughts of anxiety and mistrust. Negative obsession feeds my insomnia, which feeds my groundless fears. Whether these behaviors are learned (blame my parents) or innate (blame genetics) makes no real difference to me in the end; my compulsion to look on the dark side is ingrained, immutable.
Or so I used to like to think.
It’s now that I’m in my thirties, watching my parents age and my sister’s children grow, my inspiring friends making changes and accomplishing life goals, that I’ve realized that it’s too early to give up on myself just yet. Fear has kept me in a holding pattern, hovering rather than moving forward. Translated into food, I’ve been subsisting on cold cereal for far too long instead of trying new recipes.
Inspiration, motivation, sometimes they are as close as the grocery store or farmer’s market. How lucky we are to have a sense of smell that can bring back forgotten memories and change our mood in an instant. The smell of a bunch of fresh cilantro takes me back to my childhood in my mother’s kitchen, watching her chop the seemingly endless pile of greens it took to make my father’s favorite Persian stew. That and the smell of onions cooking made my stomach rumble, and still does.
Lucky, that’s how it makes me feel to cook a new dish and present it to someone I love. It’s the accomplishing of these small, simple acts that change us, one moment, one hour, one day at a time.
Lucky One Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice
(Adapted from Osh Posh Lo recipe by divaliscious at grouprecipes.com)
Cilantro, or coriander as it is also known, tastes amazing when eaten fresh, but to me, is even more delicious when its fresh green leaves and stems are cooked with rice.
1 and ½ cups rice (brown or white is okay, just check water requirements)
3 cups water or broth
¾ lb boneless breast of chicken, cut into 1″ sized bites
1 large onion – diced
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 large bunch of fresh cilantro – rinsed well and roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pour 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into Dutch oven or large pot with lid and heat on medium. Add diced onions and sauté until onions are translucent, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the rice (no water yet), most of the cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir rice so that it is well coated with the oil and other ingredients. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Then add water and/or broth. Do not stir. Let mixture come to a boil, and then turn down heat to very low. Cover with lid and cook for 10 minutes. After ten minutes have elapsed, gently push rice to the side with a spoon and check if all the water has evaporated. If not, let cook a few minutes more until all the water has evaporated and the rice is softened.
Once water has evaporated, take two paper towels, fold in half and place on top of pot, underneath the lid. Keeping paper towels under the lid will soak up extra steam and keep the rice from getting mushy. Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes, and then when ready to eat, fluff mixture with fork. Serve with reserved cilantro.
Photo Credit: Michael Lehet (click on photo for more info)