A good compromise, I think. :)
I wanted to cook a baked rice dish because baked rice, besides being easy, is also yummy. I guess when you place a ton of cheese on anything, it cannot help but become anything other than than yummy. :P
Ever since I discovered how easy (and much cheaper and versatile) it was to roast my own chicken rather buying a ready-roasted bird from the supermarket, I had totally stopped buying ready-roasted birds.
For this dinner, I would need 1 chicken breast (2 halves), but being a prudent home-cook, I roasted 2 chicken breasts, and use the remaining chicken to make sandwiches with roast chicken and mayonnaise.
First, I seasoned the chicken with salt. Since I only had mixed peppercorns in my pantry, I pounded some and added that as well. You can always use good old black pepper instead! :) I also added the zest of one lemon and the juice of half a lemon.
I scattered some dried thyme and drizzled extra virgin olive oil on the chicken before roasting the chicken at 180C for about 35 minutes.
I diced the chicken and set this aside. In addition, I also sliced some shitake mushrooms and diced half a red pepper.
In a hot Dutch oven (or skillet), I sauteed garlic in extra virgin olive oil for about 30 seconds. Then the red pepper was added and cooked for another minute or so before I added the mushroom.
Once the mushrooms had wilted, I added the diced chicken and 2 cans of cream of mushroom as well as the water. Finally, the rice was added. I normally use basmati rice but because I had run out, I substituted with jasmine rice instead.
I seasoned with salt. The rice mixture should be wet-ish.
I spooned the rice into individual casserole dishes, but by all means use a big casserole dish if you wish.
I topped the rice with Parmesan, then Cheddar, and finally Mozzarella cheeses. I also sprinkled some dried parsley and added a dash of black pepper. You can make everything to this stage, cover with cling film and place in the fridge until needed.
Just before dinner, I baked them at 200C for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese had melted and the tops had turned a nice golden brown.
It is best to serve the rice immediately, with a salad if you like.
Baked Rice with Roast Chicken, Mushroom, Red Peppers and Three Cheeses (Serves 4)
For the Roast Chicken:
1 whole chicken breast, skin removed
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Dash of salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon black or mixed peppercorns, ground
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice.
2. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Roast chicken in oven at 180C for about 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through
For the rice dish:
1 chicken breast, roasted and diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
100g mushrooms, sliced - I used shitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup (concentrated)
Salt, to taste
2 cups cooked over-night rice, preferably basmati rice
2.5 - 3 cans (use the can the mushroom soup came in) water
1/8 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup Cheddar
1/2 cup Mozzarella
Dried parsley, if desired
1. Saute garlic in heated olive oil in skillet or Dutch oven for 30 seconds.
2. Add red pepper, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add mushroom.
3. Once mushroom has wilted, add chicken, cream of mushroom soup, water and rice. Stir to mix.
4. Season with salt. Dish into a 9x13-inch casserole dish or 4 smaller individual casserole dishes.
5. Top with Parmesan, Cheddar, Mozzarella and black pepper. Sprinkle with dried parsley, if desired.
6. Bake at 200C for about 15-20 minutes, until tops turn golden brown.
7. Serve immediately.