One Chicken, Two Recipes

Some days you just want comfort food. True comfort food for me usually consists of some form of chicken and a bunch of carbs. In eastern North Carolina, I grew up eating a lot of chicken and dumplings. My husband, Vince, who grew up in the Lowcountry ate a lot of chicken and rice. While I haven’t been able to completely convert Vince to my taste for chicken and dumplings, I quickly learned to love the traditional South Carolina chicken perlo. This week, I decided to cook pearlo with a twist. With a whole chicken and only two diners, I was able to come up with two new chicken and rice entrees. Not just comforting, but also delicious!

Greek Chicken and Rice

Greek Chicken and Rice
1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups chicken stock*
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1½ cups shredded chicken
1 cup instant rice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup feta cheese
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
¼ cup diced cucumber
2 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Rinse and dry chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Place whole chicken in a deep pot. Cover chicken with water. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until chicken is cooked through and meat begins to fall from the bones. Remove chicken from broth. Let cool until easy to handle. Remove chicken meat from the bones. Discard bones and skin. Strain chicken stock and reserve. Place 2 cups chicken stock in a small stock pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in salt, thyme, oregano, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir in chicken and rice. Cover and remove from heat for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice with beaten egg. Pour egg mixture into rice mixture and stir to combine. Cook rice over medium heat for 2 minutes more to cook the egg. Divide chicken and rice between two plates. Garnish with feta cheese, grape tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives and chopped parsley. Serves 2. *Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken and chicken stock.

Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowls

Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowls
1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large flour burritos
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup diced yellow onion
3 cups chicken stock*
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1½ cups instant rice
2 cups shredded chicken
1 (15.25-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
Grape tomatoes, diced
Green onion, diced
Sliced black olives
Sliced pickled jalapenos
Red onion, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Sour cream
Guacamole
Taco sauce
Queso, if desired
Lime, sliced
Rinse and dry chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Place whole chicken in a deep pot. Cover chicken with water. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until chicken is cooked through and meat begins to fall from the bones. Remove chicken from broth. Let cool until easy to handle. Remove chicken meat from the bones. Discard bones and skin. Strain chicken stock and reserve. Place burritos in individual baking dishes. Shape each to form bowls. Cook burritos in a preheated 400 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until shells are golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside. In a medium stock pot, saute onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until they begin to soften. Add chicken stock, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin; bring to a boil. Stir in rice and remove from heat. After 5 minutes, return to medium heat and stir in shredded chicken, black beans and diced tomatoes. Cook until heated through and chicken stock is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Place chicken and rice mixture in prepared burrito bowls. Top with shredded cheese. Garnish with grape tomatoes, green onion, black olives, jalapenos, red onion, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, taco sauce and/or queso sauce. Season with a squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving. Serves 4. *Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken and chicken stock.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at dbc@cateringbydebbicovington.com.