Chicken · Main Courses

One Pot Chicken and Rice

I like this dish because it has a short list of ingredients which I usually have on hand and there is only 1 pot to wash up.   It also tastes fantastic.   The short simmer time makes this good  for weeknight dinners, and tasty enough for a casual dinner with friends.  Add some good bread, a nice salad, maybe some wine….

Serves 4


One Pot Chicken and Rice

4 chicken thighs with legs attached

1 teaspoon salt  (divided)

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (divided)

2 Tablespoons canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 cup long grain white rice

1 3/4 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1 1/2 cups peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse and pat chicken dry.   Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total). Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy deep skillet (at least 2 inches deep) over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken,  on both sides, about 10 minutes total.  Use tongs to transfer chicken to a plate.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoon fat from skillet.   Cook onion and garlic with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add rice and almonds and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add stock, water and tumeric and bring to a full boil. Nestle chicken in rice, keeping as much rice around (rather than under) chicken as possible.   Pour any juices from plate into the pan.   Cover tightly and simmer, over very low heat until chicken is cooked through and rice is tender and most liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.   Remove from heat and stir in peas.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and then lid and let stand until all of liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle cilantro over top and serve.



Chicken · Main Courses

Chicken Vindaloo

Yes, the list of ingredients is long, but dont let that discourage you.   You probably have most of them hiding in your cupboard anyway, so you might as well give this a try.

Take a few minutes to assemble and measure everything before you start and this will be a snap!

Even for slow cooks like me, it was ready from start to finish in under an hour.


Chicken Vindaloo

2 onions, one roughly chopped, the other sliced

3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more later if you like it hot, but taste first)

2 Tablespoons canola oil

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces *SEE COOKS NOTES*

1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peels left on, cut into bite size pieces

1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock


Blend the roughly chopped onion and the next 11 ingredients in food processor until a more or less smooth paste forms.  Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium, add paste from processor and cook until darkened in colour and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.  Add the sliced onion, chicken and potatoes; sauté 5 minutes.  Add broth and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more cayenne, if desired, and salt and pepper.

COOKS NOTES- you can sub chicken breast for the thighs, but wait until the potatoes are nearly cooked before adding to the mix.  Those small pieces of chicken breast take only a few minutes to go from nicely cooked to dry so watch carefully.

The original recipe, printed in Bon Appetit, Sept 2002 is from The Ambassador Dining Room in Baltimore MD,  I have tweaked it a bit to suit me, but it is pretty much as written.




Chicken · Main Courses · Salads

Spinach Salad with Pan Seared Chicken Breast

Not too taxing in the cooking department and still tastes great.   There are lots of ways to dress this, but honestly, a simple drizzle of good olive oil is really all you need.  This is on the lighter side, but still satisfying.

This serves 2 as a main course.

Spinach Salad

For the Salad

2 bunches spinach,  washed well, dried,  & larger leaves torn and tough stems removed

small handful of arugula, torn (optional, but highly recommended!)

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered

2 tomatoes, quartered

2 radishes, quartered or sliced

1 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced

3 – 4 white mushrooms, sliced

Chopped preserved lemon for garnish (optional)

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

The Chicken

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

juice of half a lemon



Heat oil in frying pan, over high heat until oil is shiny.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to frying pan and sear on both sides.  About 2 minutes per side.  Partially cover pan with lid and reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until chicken is cooked thru.  I like an internal temp of 155 – 160.  Remove chicken to plate, tent with foil and let rest until internal temp reaches 165,  about 10 minutes. (Yes, the temperature does increase after you take it off the heat)

Meanwhile, toss all the salad ingredients except olive oil to combine and arrange on 2 plates.

Slice chicken crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, and lay on top of prepared salad.

Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over each plate and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over top.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and serve.

COOKS NOTE – if using spinach from a bag, ALWAYS give it a wash.  Even though the package says it is washed and ready to use, the stuff in those bags can be loaded with bacteria!!

Chicken · Main Courses

Chicken and Rice Casserole

It has been quite a weekend here at Casa Madera; 2 days of shop till you drop action, a baking marathon on Friday,  my office Christmas party on Saturday night, and actually remembering to get our donation of a basket of goodies off for some deserving senior to its drop point before the deadline!

This whirlwind of activity finally caught up with us about 5pm tonight when we realized we were too tired to BBQ the chicken as planned.  I know, its a little thing, but neither of us were sure we could stay awake until the charcoal  was ready.   We could have ordered pizza, or made do by eating all those cookies baked on Friday, except that we had already thawed the chicken, and didn’t want to hold it over for another day.  Besides all that,  at this point in the Christmas Crush, the last thing I wanted was another restaurant or fast food meal.

Enter the Chicken and Rice Casserole!   It comes together quickly, can be done stovetop and will be ready in about 45 minutes.  Added bonus – there is only 1 pot to wash!   The key to this recipe to salt each component of the dish, as you go, tasting frequently to be sure you don’t over-salt.  Without enough salt, this can be a bland dish, but with too much…well, you know.

This recipe serves 4.


Chicken and Rice Casserole

4 chicken legs, thighs attached or 1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces

2 Tablespoons oil

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery,  cut into 1/4″ pieces

1 tomato, diced

1 green pepper, cut into 1/4 inch dice

1/8 to 1 whole jalepeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)   The level of heat in this dish is will depend on how many slices of jalepeno you add to the pot.  We like just a little zing and use only 2 – 3 slices.

1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups water  or chicken stock

3/4 cup frozen peas

salt and pepper to taste

Special Equipment

1 large saucepan, with high sides, at least 3 inches deep, or a dutch oven.

Cut the legs and thighs apart so you have 8 individual pieces.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in sauce pan over medium high heat, and brown chicken on both sides, 8 – 10 minutes.  Work in batches if needed to avoid over crowding the chicken.  Remove from pan to bowl and keep warm.

Remove all but 3 tablespoons of oil from pan, reduce heat to medium and add onions and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add celery, tomato, green pepper, and jalepeno if using. Sprinkle lightly with salt.   Cook , stirring, 1 minute. Add garlic, tomato paste and tumeric, stir  for another minute to mix well.

Stir in rice and water, check for seasoning, add salt and pepper to suit your taste.  Add chicken, and any juices from bottom of the bowl.  Nestle chicken pieces into the rice, bringing as much rice as possible up around the chicken.  You don’t want the chicken just sitting on top of the rice.  Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is done.  20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Sprinkle frozen peas over top, cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving.



Chicken · Main Courses

Peri-Peri Chicken


This little gem found its way into our kitchen a couple of months ago.  What is it anyway?  Piri piri is  Swahili  for ‘pepper pepper’.  In Malawi, they spell it ‘Peri Peri’.  However you choose to spell it, its meaning is the same; a small hot pepper, member of the Capsicum family.   And, it does pack a punch!

This spice seems to be everywhere lately.  Google searches will give you recipes for Piri Piri goat, beef, chicken, potatoes, chip dips, its uses are apparently limitless!  Even Dominos offers a Peri Peri Beef Pizza!

Apparently, I may be the last person on earth to learn of the existence of Peri Peri.

Since its arrival in our spice pantry, we have been experimenting with ways to use it to its best advantage.  The obvious, and easiest of course is to just sprinkle it over our chosen protein before cooking.  This gave us  a nice blast of heat, but not much flavour.  So, I came up with this marinade, which gives a nice tingle on the lips, a slow burn deep in the throat and great flavour.  The heat quotient is easily adjusted by using more or less Peri Peri powder so for those of you who crave bolder flavours, increase the amount of Peri Peri you add.

Peri Peri Chicken

1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

2″ fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons Inferno Peri Peri powder

1/4 cup canola oil

Juice and zest from half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons water


8 – 12 chicken legs or thighs

In food processor, combine all ingredients except for the chicken.  Process on low, scraping bowl as needed until all ingredients are blended.  About 2 minutes.  If you find the mixture is too thick, you can thin it with a tablespoon or 2  of water to loosen it up just a bit.  Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste,  if needed.


Place chicken in resealable plastic bag and pour in  half of the marinade.


Massage bag to distribute the marinade so all pieces are evenly coated.  Squish out as much air as possible and seal the bag.  Put bag on a plate to catch any leaks and let marinate in refrigerator overnight, up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Refrigerate the unused marinade in a separate container.  You will need this to baste the chicken while it is cooking.

There are instructions below for oven roasting, as well as gas and charcoal grills.   Which ever way you choose to cook the chicken, be sure to tent with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.   This will give you time to dress your salad and get those potatoes mashed.

Oven:  Preheat oven to 400 F, place chicken in single layer on baking sheet and bake 35 – 40 minutes, turning several times and basting with reserved marinade, until chicken starts pulling away from the end of the bone,  it is no longer pink inside and juices run clear.   A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the leg or thigh, not touching the bone should register 165F.

Gas BBQ:  Preheat grill, then turn one side off.  Put chicken on the side without the flame.  With lid closed,  cook 40 – 50 minutes, turning several times and basting with reserved marinade, until chicken starts pulling away from the end of the bone, it is no longer pink inside and juices run clear.  A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the leg or thigh, not touching the bone should register 165F.


Charcoal BBQ:  Put coals to one side of the BBQ and place chicken on the grill where coals are not.  With lid closed,  cook 40 – 50 minutes, turning halfway thru and basting with reserved marinade, A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the leg or thigh, not touching the bone should register 165F.

Serves 4 – 6.

Chicken · Main Courses

Oven-Roasted Chicken



I was suffering from Turkey Envy last weekend.  I  craved roasted bird so badly, knowing family and friends were all sitting down to Canadian Thanksgiving dinner at some point that weekend.

So I bought a chicken, with the intention of making myself a full “turkey substitute” dinner, complete with mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli salad… all the trimmings.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I was having a great day at my sewing machine which happens so rarely, I didn’t want to stop working on the bed toppers I was making.   My grumbly stomach finally dragged me away from the bed toppers I was making  and in to the kitchen.  Holy !  7pm already??   Obviously, it was far too late to be making that “thanksgiving” dinner I had been dreaming about.   So,  I washed, dried and salted the chicken and let it roast while I scarfed a slice of leftover pizza for dinner and finished off with a a muffin for dessert.

A couple of hours later, as I stood eating a perfectly roasted chicken leg over the kitchen sink, I realized that this, was probably the best tasting chicken I have ever made.    I smiled,  and gave thanks for all the quick easy lunches this roast chicken will give me.


Oven-roasted Chickenimg_1785

1 whole chicken

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 – 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Kitchen string

Preheat oven to 350 F

Wash chicken inside and out, then pat dry with paper towels.

Sprinkle  chicken all over with salt, including inside the cavity.  Put the rosemary sprigs in the cavity.

Use the kitchen string to tie the wings close to the body and the legs together.   This is called trussing, and will prevent them from flapping around all over the place while they overcook ,waiting for the rest of the bird to catch up.

Place on rack in roaster, put in preheated oven and roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165 F.   Cooking time will vary depending on size of bird, but you should allow 25 minutes per pound.  (Maybe longer, if you were impatient like me and didn’t properly preheat your oven.)   My chicken weighed 4 1/2 pounds and took 2 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from oven, pour pan juices over top, give it a generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and let rest for 30 minutes.