A Little Like Paris – Chicken and Rice Casserole
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One of the dishes was at a café by the marché aux puces (flea market) called Café Le Paul Bert. We had the most phenomenal dish of chicken, rice, and veggies. It was the creamiest, dreamiest chicken and rice I could ever imagine. It was one of the dishes I most wanted to duplicate upon our return (third on my list of “musts” – after baguettes, which I have now successfully made, and our meal at Au Bon Coin – I have almost mastered the potatoes, but have yet to make the full meal).
I don’t know exactly what it is about this dish. It seems like a pretty simple concept. It’s just chicken, rice, and veggies. Buuuut, there’s a whole lot more to it. There has to be, right?
When I made it, about two weeks after we’d returned, I was surprised by how much it tasted like our beloved Paris dish. And I think I may have accidentally discovered the secret: almond milk. I’d been drinking a little more almond milk and a little less cow’s milk lately. Just kinda to see if I like it. At first I did not. At all. But it’s growing on me. One way that I have always enjoyed it is in cooking (same with coconut milk). I use it in soups, oatmeal, even cornbread.
I haven’t made this dish using cow’s milk, so I don’t actually know if the almond milk made it taste so much like our Paris dish. But, it’s more fun to think that I accidentally made something amazing than to just borringly have done it on purpose.
I’d originally called this Drunken Chicken Casserole, because there’s a cup of wine in it. A tribute to the wine drunk with lunches and dinners in Paris. However, this could be made using vegetable or chicken stock and I’m sure it would taste great too.
Let’s talk about the veggies. I used carrots because they were in the Paris dish, and because I had them in the fridge. I used broccoli because it needed to be used. If I’d wanted to try to replicate it more exactly, I would have used carrots and leeks. But, I’m more of a “cook with what I have” kinda cooker, so yeah… You could use whatever veggies you like with chicken and rice. Cauliflower wouldn’t add much to the look of the dish, but it would taste great. Spinach would be yummy. Peas would be fun. Green onions would add a pop of color and a nice flavor. If you wanted to make this sans chicken, you could make it with fennel, carrots, and some mahi mahi. Have a look in your produce drawer. What looks good?
Aaaand now I’m super hungry.
- 1 t unsalted butter
- 1 t olive oil
- 1 C brown rice
- 1 C white wine (or vegetable or chicken stock)
- 1 C cold water
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 1 carrot, cut into long slices
- water (for steaming)
- 1 C chicken, cooked and chopped – I used leftovers
- 1 C almond milk
- to taste, salt
- to taste, pepper
- 1/4 C cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 C parmesan cheese, shredded
- Cook rice in water and wine according to package directions (about 35-45 minutes), adding more liquid if needed.
- Add water to a pot with a steamer basket, place carrots and broccoli to the steamer. Steam until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes or so (you could add carrots first and broccoli halfway through, since it will take a bit less time to cook). (Save steamer water and freeze, to use at a later time as vegetable stock.)
- When rice is done, add chicken, milk, veggies, salt, and pepper. Cook until the chicken is heated through and the milk has been absorbed.
- Stir in cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
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