A Quick and Easy Chicken & Basil Rice Recipe
You know those odd days you get when you are due a grocery shopping trip and couldn’t be bothered making the trip out to stock up. I know I’m not alone on this one folks, so stop pretending. So you decide that you’re going to make something from the ingredients you already have, ingredients like chicken and a fresh herb like basil.
In times gone by it wouldn’t have been a big deal as it was just for me and possibly my husband too. In fact it was a great way to get rid of things that were nearing their use by dates.
However with the addition of a small mouth and a big healthy appetite in the shape of a thriving toddler, our son, not just anything will do nowadays. It needs to be healthy, tasty and suitable for his little palate. Having it as finger food is always a plus as he loves nothing more than showing off his coordination and feeding skills.
A couple of afternoons ago, I found myself in the above predicament, but with a little online research, my own kitchen know how, and some cooking common sense, I rustled up a really tasty and extremely easy Chicken & Basil Oven Baked Rice dish.
The ingredient amounts here should happily feed two adults and a baby. If you’re cooking for more than two adults just follow the instructions for cooking your rice (the ones on the packet). The norm is usually a half cup of rice per person with a cup of water, but it is entirely up to how much you like to eat, and whether the dish is going to be used as a side dish or a main dish. I used Basmati rice as it was what I had in my kitchen cupboard. Next time I might use Arborio rice.
- 1 cup of Rice
- 2 tablespoons of Butter
- 1 clove of Garlic – crushed
- 1 small Onion – chopped
- A pinch of Salt
- 2 ½ cups of Chicken Stock
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 1 Mozzarella ball
- 1 cup of Fresh Basil
- 1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes
- ¼ – ½ cup of Parmesan grated – (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 220 º
- In an oven proof pan place the two chicken breasts, cover with foil, and put them in the oven to roast. For speed you can also poach or fry the chicken, or use left over roast chicken from a previous meal – the later is highly recommended.
- In an oven proof dish (I like to use a large Le Creuset dish) – preferably one with a lid and big enough to take all of your ingredients (remember rice doubles if not triples in size when cooked) add the butter and place the dish in the oven.
- When the butter is melted stir in the onions, garlic, rice and chicken stock.
- Place in the middle of the oven, covered for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime wash and chop the cherry tomatoes in half, wash and shred roughly the basil leaves, chop the mozzarella into small cubes and grate some parmesan if you are adding it to the dish.
- The rice and chicken should be cooked at the same time. Always ensure the chicken is cooked throughout.
- Remove the rice from the oven and fluff it with a fork.
- Remove the chicken breasts and chop into cubes. Personally I prefer to shred the chicken into this dish. It’s very easy to do with two forks by tearing the chicken little by little, especially if you’ve poached the chicken. Or you can tear it with your hands if you’re using left over roast chicken. However when serving to little fingers, I find that cubed chicken is the way to go, as my little toddler likes to be certain of what he likes and doesn’t like – and be familiar with each taste – no hidden ingredients, like sneakily shredded chicken.
- Fold into the rice the chicken, chopped cherry tomatoes, cubed mozzarella, shredded basil leaves and grated parmesan.
- Serve immediately as the mozzarella will be soft and melted.
If you don’t have an onion, leave it out. If you don’t have basil, add spinach instead! The same goes with the mozzarella, swap it for emmental. The beauty of this dish is that you use what you have and experimentation is always welcome.