Sometimes… well… frequently actually, I will look in the fridge and cupboards to see what I have lying around and google what I find to look for an interesting recipe. After an unexpectedly stressful, but ultimately productive day I realised I had forgotten to eat… anything at all…. all day, so I looked in the fridge and found; slightly slimy but not quite ready for the bin mushrooms that I forgot I bought, the leftover half packet of diced chicken and the half a head of broccoli I made risotto with the other night and a gone off half carton of cream. Chicken and mushrooms may as well have evolved symbiotically they go so well together and when you throw something creamy in on top… well you can’t go wrong really. The random recipe google threw at me looked good so I binned the cream and went round to the convenience shop to pick up a fresh tub of creme fraiche and got to work.
All the nearly off or need-to-be-eaten-soon bits and pieces I had lying around were soon converted into a simple and surprisingly tasty Saturday night meal.
Chicken Mushroom Rice Thing
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200 grams diced chicken
- A clove or two of garlic chopped
- One large shallot or half an onion chopped
- 150 g ish Sliced mushrooms
- 250 ml chicken stock made from half a cube
- 150 ml creme fraiche
- Salt and pepper
- A small handful of chopped Parsley
- Some broccoli florets
- The end of a bag of rice
I hunt for recipes for inspiration rather than to slavishly follow them and this is adapted from one I found on the BBC website.
I like to use a large saute pan with a lid for certain dishes that require frying and then simmering but it’s not essential. Any old pan will do. Fry your chicken bits, breast or otherwise, in the oil for a few minutes until it has browned slightly, throw in your onion thing and garlic and give it a stir until softened, add the sliced mushrooms and fry for another few minutes.
At this point my dish went a rather off putting grey colour due to the age of the mushrooms but if yours are fresh the sauce will stay a nice beige colour.
Stir in the stock and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or so. While the chicken mushroom thing simmers, boil your broccoli in another small pan of salted water for a minute or two. I left mine on too long and it was a bit soft but it’s very difficult to make broccoli inedible, although some would argue it is always inedible, fortunately I love the stuff. Take the lid off the chicken pan if necessary to reduce the amount of liquid in the sauce. Mushrooms give off a huge amount of liquid as you cook them… particularly if they were a little slimy to start with! They also reduce in size dramatically as they lose their liquid so what looks like a ridiculous amount when they go in the pan soon becomes more manageable.
Interestingly, I forgot about the rice while I was making this and I have forgotten about it as I write this recipe so I turned the heat under the saucepan right down to a low simmer and left the broccoli in the drained pan to wait until I caught up with myself.
Rice defeats me. I cannot cook rice in a way which produces a satisfactory result. No matter what ‘foolproof’ method I use, this fool always ends up with a stodgy mass of unpleasantness. My salvation arrived when I was given a small rice cooker by a travelling Chinese couple who were on the last leg of their world trip and left the machine with with me rather than carry it back to China, (that may sound like a tall tale, dreamt up just for colour, but I swear it is the truth). It is a lovely, simple, little machine that makes enough rice for one or two people. Although I initially thought they were mad carrying this thing around the world with them I soon understood why they did.
One part rice to two parts water, put them in the machine, give them a stir, put the lid on and press the button. 15 or 20 minutes later you have perfect, fluffy rice. It even has a keep warm function that does what it says on the tin. You have no idea how this simple little gadget has improved the quality of my life. I’m not a big fan of kitchen gadgets, mainly because I don’t have the space to store them or I simply can’t afford them, €500+ for a Kitchenaid, you can swivel on it Nigella! But this is one kitchen aid that I would heartily recommend to anyone, not just those of us that struggle with rice. You can buy a big one for a family or shared home, or a little one like mine, but either way they are cheaper than a night in the pub and well worth finding the storage space for.
So anyway, on with the recipe, get your rice cooked by whatever means necessary and add the creme fraiche to your chicken sauce, stir it in and add your freshly chopped parsley, I suppose dried parsley would do the trick but fresh parsley is one indulgence I allow myself as it adds a lovely freshness to a vast amount of dishes.
Serve the chicken sauce over your rice with the broccoli on the side. Yummy.