Beer is the secret ingredient in this chicken, rice and saffron dish. It’s a simple one-pot meal that can be made for a midweek dinner or increased for a quick weekend crowd-pleaser.
The rice should not be dry and flaky; it should be “drunk” with the liquid. Valencia-style rice, a short-grain or pearl rice, is best with this dish; the grains are almost round and have a high starch content, giving the rice a sticky, moist texture.
Italian arborio rice, a short-grain rice used for making risotto, also can be used.
The only chopping and cutting in this dinner is the onion.
Drunken Chicken and Rice
1/2 cup Valencia-style rice (or arborio)
1 pound skinless chicken thighs, on the bone
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup sliced red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup fat-free, low-salt chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup beer
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup drained, sliced sweet pimento
1 cup frozen petite peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place rice in a small bowl and add water to cover. Let stand while preparing remaining ingredients.
If you didn’t buy skinless chicken thighs, remove skin and fat. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on all sides, about 2 minutes.
Lower heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Saute 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain the rice and add to the skillet with the chicken broth, tomato sauce, beer, saffron and pimento. Cover and simmer 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the peas to the skillet. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. A meat thermometer inserted in the center of the chicken thighs should read 180 degrees when they are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition per serving: 585 calories (17 percent from fat), 11 grams fat (1.9 gram saturated, 4.7 grams monounsaturated), 115 milligrams cholesterol, 40.7 grams protein, 71.6 grams carbohydrates, 7.5 grams fiber, 516 milligrams sodium.