Luckily I crawled out from under my highbrow rock last night and discovered the pleasures of Honey Boo Boo. Of course I’d HEARD of her, but I’d never SEEN her. What a revelation.
Anyway, the cooking segments from the show particularly caught my attention. Like this one where a regular piece of chicken breast is grilled, smothered in butter-like substance, and shredded into cook-in-the-bag rice, which had about a cup of margarine mixed through it. The final piece-de-resistance was the entire meal being drowned in store bought BBQ sauce. And voila, dinner ready.
And the vegies? Well look, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’d already had their 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit before dinner preparations began.
The basic concept of their meal doesn’t offend me at all. Chicken & rice is one of life’s great pleasures. We eat it all the time at VSHQ. A regular is this Jerk Chicken which I serve with this Caribbean Rice. Delicious. Or this chicken & brown rice salad. ALSO delicious.
In Vegie Smugglers book 2, there’s a yum ‘red-cooked chicken’ – cooked in Chinese master stock. Served over rice, this will have you swooning. Or also from Book 2 (which will be out of print within months – get in soon if you want a hard copy edition), is this pilaf, which is SO good. And easy enough that Honey Boo Boo’s momma might want to give it a try.
Easy Chicken pilaf
2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed (chicken breasts are too dry in this dish – you can use them but will need to add extra oil)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1 zucchini, peeled, grated
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1–2 tsp garam masala
1½ cup long-grain rice (try basmati)
3 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup sultanas
1 cup frozen peas
Chopped red chilli, coriander leaves and peanuts (optional),
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat the oil in a large stove-to-oven dish over medium heat. Brown the chicken for 3–4 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
Add the onion to the dish, stirring until starting to go golden, then add the carrot, zucchini, garlic, ginger and garam masala. Continue to stir for 2 minutes until the vegies are soft. Add a touch more oil if the pan is very dry.
Pour in the rice, coat all the grains well before adding the stock. Return the chicken to the dish. Cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and stir through the sultanas and peas. Re-cover and set aside for 5 minutes more.
Serve as is for the kids. Top with chili, coriander and peanuts (if using), for the adults.
SERVES 2 ADULTS & 2 KIDS