Sunday, April 19, 2015

Roast Chicken, Herb and Asparagus Rice

"Mystery Box Madness : April 2015", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). We are given ten ingredients and are required to select at least three out of the ten, to make a dish using the recipes from any of IHCC featured chefs, past or present.

The ten ingredients for this month are : Scallops, Tarragon, Sour Cream, Walnuts, Capers, Asparagus, White Beans, Gruyere, Yeast and Rice.

My selection for this week's challenge : Rice, Asparagus and Tarragon

Found the perfect recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater. I was going thru the recipe and happy to note that there is rice, asparagus and quite a number of different herbs used, but there's no tarragon, and was thinking of adding it in. Upon reading the notes by Nigel Slater at the top of the recipe, he did mention that ".....I would probably swap the gentle aniseed charms of chervil for the more punchy notes of the tarragon. This time I added small leaves of sorrel because I happened to have some, but they should be considered a treat rather than being essential to the recipe".  I was smiling with glee, as this week's MBM is quite challenging, as I am unable to find recipes which uses at least three out of the ten ingredients together in a recipe, except for one more, Donna Hay's "Tarragon Chicken and Ham Pasties", but the recipe uses Gruyere, which I am unable to find and even if I can find it, it will be very expensive!

I made this for our weekend simple dinner and it was delicious. Recipe uses leftover roasted chicken, but since I do not have that, I roasted a whole piece of chicken breast meat, seasoned with olive oil, salt and lots of black pepper. Then I tear it into chunks and used it the recipe. When I was at the supermarket getting the tarragon and thymes, I've forgotten to get some parsley and mint. So I have omitted them. 

This is a really easy rice meal to prepare. Firstly cook the rice ; heat up some butter, stir-fry the bay leaves, and thyme leaves until fragrant, add in the basmati rice. Stir for a minute, add in water to cover, close the pot, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is done. I cooked two cups of basmati rice using one cup of homemade chicken stock and the balance with water to make 3-1/4 cups of water/stock in total. After 20 minutes of cooking, turn off heat and leave rice undisturbed for 10-15 minutes. 

While the rice is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Cut up the asparagus to short lengths and steam for a few minutes just until tender, refresh in cold water immediately. I have however, microwave them on high for 2 minutes (easier, faster and less pots to wash!), and then refresh in cold water. Drain before use.

Fluff up rice and mix with the rest of the ingredients ; asparagus, chicken chunks and herbs. I've chopped the tarragon leaves and used about 2 tablespoons in total. Tarragon is quite strong in taste, so add accordingly to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Recipe uses lemon olive oil, which I do not have, but I do have olive oil infused with fig leaves, so I used that instead.

There's a yoghurt sauce in the recipe which is supposed to spoon over the rice pilau before serving, but I have omitted the yoghurt sauce.

This is a simple, easy, and delicious rice meal. I love the simplicity of preparing this meal. Any herbs can be added in. I will definitely make this again, and will make sure that I have some fresh corianders around, which I'm sure will add a more fragrant and wonderful taste to this rice meal. If you do not have any leftover roasted chicken, you can roast a large piece of chicken breast (like I did) or a few pieces of thigh meat, seasoned with salt and pepper, the day before, warm it in the oven for a short while before using it in the recipe.

Roast Chicken, Herb and Asparagus Rice
(adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries II", Nigel Slater)
250gm asparagus
120gm brown basmati rice (I use the regular white basmati)
30gm butter
2 bay leaves
whole black peppercorns (I omitted this)
leaves from a couple sprigs of thyme
250gm leftover roast chicken
4 spring onions
3 or 4 sprigs parsley
4 bushy sprigs mint leaves
4 o 5 leaves sorrel (optional)
a few sprigs of chervil (I used tarragon)
3 tablespoons lemon olive oil

Trim the asparagus and cut it into short lengths. Boil or steam for four or five minutes, till almost tender. Drain and cool quickly under running water. 
Wash the rice three times in cold water, moving the grains around in the water with your fingers. Warm the butter in a small-to-medium-sized saucepan, add the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme leaves and stir them around in the butter for a minute or two, until the fragrance wafts up. Drain the rice and tip it into the warm herbs. Cover with a couple of centimetres' depth of water and bring to the boil. Season with salt, cover with a lid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Leave to cook till the rice is tender but has some bite left in it, about fifteen minutes or so. Set aside with the lid on but the heat off.
Tear the chicken into large, jagged pieces and put them into a large mixing bowl. Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Chop the parsley and mint. If you are using sorrel, shred it finely. Pick the leaves from the chervil and add to the chicken with all the other herbs. Fluff the rice up with a fork. Tip the warm rice into the herbs and chicken, add the steamed asparagus and toss gently with the lemon oil. Correct the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. The mixture should be light, green and fresh.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week 
"Mystery Box Madness : April 2015".


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  1. Yeah, the ingredients are tough! I haven't eaten asparagus in ages. Gotta buy some soon. :)

  2. Very delicious and great use of leftover chicken!

  3. I love this recipe Joyce!! look sooo delicous!!

  4. Hi Joyce, this is so flavourful with the wonderful herbs. Yum!

  5. After reading through Joyce's post and yours I realize the ingredients were hard to come by for you both and I'm sorry that was the case! I certainly didn't know the ingredients would be so high or hard to source. Please feel free to let us know when we announce the ingredients and we can change them if need be.

    I'm so glad you found this incredible recipe for chicken herb and asparagus rice. It looks like a beautiful spring time dish that would work perfect for my family. Just a little bit of chicken goes a long way in a dish like this and feeds so many. I think you did an exceptional job considering the challenge with the ingredients. Thanks for hanging in there with us this week!

  6. Hi Joyce, I love the combination of the ingredients. Now I need to find some tarragon for this dish!

  7. Omigosh.. This is a keeper... Loving it lots

  8. Joyce, this rice, herbs, asparagus and roasted chicken combo looks pretty delicious! I would have no problems polishing of a big plate hah..hah...

  9. WOW, this is such a tasty rice dish...I love that you used leftover roasted chicken..and all the herbs..yum!
    Have a great week ahead Joyce :)

  10. This does look like the perfect dish for spring and I love how quick and simple it is. (Gorgeous colors too.)
    Great use of the mystery ingredients! ;-)

  11. Looks to be a very tasty and delicious dish and glad we met though the Mystery Box Madness: April 2015! via IHCC too! Cheers! Joanne