This. Is. Comfort food.
Creamy rice, soft and hearty veggies, juicy chicken thighs, and salty onion strings.
I've had this basic recipe for a while now, and every time I make it I am pleasantly surprised how delicious this simple meal with simple ingredients is. The leftovers are also just as good, and soul-warming on a cool, fall day. Leftover turkey would also substitute the chicken perfectly.
Preheat your oven to 350'.
Heat 1 t EVOO in a large pot. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and cook a couple minutes on each side until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
*If you're using leftover turkey instead of the chicken, you'll skip this step. Obvi.
Add another 1 t EVOO to the pot and throw in your veggies, saute for a couple of minutes until they've softened a bit.
Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. In the pan, pour your chicken broth, rice, bouillon, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix it up all nice and mixified.
Bouillon. A lot of bouillon out there has MSG in it. With all of the controversial studies out there on the stuff, I prefer to stay away from it. This stuff has been just perfect! Found it at Sprouts.
Freshly shredded parm.
Is there a better cheese out there freshly shredded? I submit that there is not.
Spoon the veggies onto the rice and broth mixture in the 9x13 pan, then snuggle the chicken (or leftover turkey) in among the rice and veggies. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Now for the guilty pleasure of the dish, the crispy onion strings topping.
Not only are these fabulous on top of the dish, but the huge plate of onion rings was quite divine.
I may or may not have eaten most of them and only hoped to have enough leftover to top the rice dish.
Start out by slicing the onion into thin little slices, then soak in buttermilk at least an hour.
In a bowl, mix your flour, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, and paprika.
Heat up your vegetable or canola oil in a large, deep frying pan on medium heat to 375 degrees or until when you flick water into the oil, it immediately starts sizzling. If it's not hot enough, the coating will fall off and you'll have slimy, oily onions. Blech.
The other key is to fry small batches at a time. If you do too much, they all cling to one another, lower the temperature too much, and again, you'll have slimy, oily onions.
Dip the buttermilked onions into the flour mixture (small batches) and coat onions well.
Gently place them in the oil, and they should immediately start sizzling.
Once the bottoms are starting to brown, flip onions over.
When they're done, take those crispy babies out and place on a plate covered with layered paper towels.
Taste them (for seasoning purposes only of course), and add salt while they're still hot if they need it.
Top the chicken and rice dish with the crispy onion strings.
Try to stop staring at the golden, salty, crispy nuggets of onion.