Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Chicken and Rice has been a long time favorite food of mine since the first time I tried it in my grandmothers kitchen as a kid. I remember the smell of the chicken boiling and the taste of the black pepper over the white rice. It was truly great. Over the years I have tried many different varieties and even come up with a couple of different ways to prepare it myself. I tend to lean more towards making it with yellow rice because the flavor of the saffron and turmeric lend something to it that is pretty darned tasty. Now if you are sitting here reading this and thinking to yourself “whats the difference” then you obviously have not had the pleasure of eating much chicken and rice. This makes me both sad and excited for you seeing as I get to introduce you to it with my new recipe.

While sitting at home this past weekend I was making out my grocery list and trying to decide what I wanted to cook for the week and Chicken and Rice kept popping in to my head, but I did not want to make it the way I usually do. I was feeling creative and a little daring and started tossing around ingredients in my head to see what stuck out the most. Then it hit me, cilantro and lime could be just what I was looking for. So off to the store I went and here is what I came up with.

Ingredients

Boneless/skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts)

Chicken stock/broth

1 small white onion

3 to 4 medium jalapenos (red and green if they have them)

1 bag of yellow rice (Mahatma or Vigo work great)

2 medium limes

1 bunch of cilantro

3 garlic cloves

salt

black pepper (ground)

Now I may prepare this a little different than you are used to but trust me and follow my steps. You will thank me for it later.

Set out a medium to large pot (with a lid) and then check the rice to see how many cups of water it calls for to cook. Mine called for 3 1/3 cups of water but since I am doing things a little different I went with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken stock. This gave me a little more than called for but will be necessary. Start that heating over high heat to boil. Now chop up the garlic, onion and jalapenos into small pieces and add them to the water. By now the water should be heating up and starting to bubble. go ahead and add the chicken breasts in and let them cook for a bit. You will know when they are done when you can uses a wooden spoon to easily push through the meat (about 30 to 40 minutes). When the chicken has finished remove them from the pot and place on a plate to cool (do not turn off the heat from the pot). Now chop up the cilantro and add it to the boiling water and squeeze the juice of both limes into the pot. Add in about a half teaspoon of salt and about a tablespoon of black pepper. Let that boil for a couple of minutes and then add the rice. Stir it around for a couple of minutes and then cover it and reduce the heat to low for about 20 to 30 minutes (check it every now and then to give it a stir).

While the rice is cooking you will want to start shredding the chicken. Just use your fingers and start tearing it into small pieces and set it aside.

Now check and see if the rice is about done. You want it to be firm but not crunchy. Add the chicken into the pot and stir it into the rice. Cover it back up and let it sit for another 15 minutes or so. If it seems a little dry you can always a little more chicken stock and stir it around.

Now it is time to eat. You should have a nice hearty meal with a great taste of cilantro and lime. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks for reading

JMW

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Growing up on the east coast I was introduced to pork BBQ at an early age and grew up with that being the norm anywhere you went to eat. You walk into a restaurant and the menu showed items like pulled pork, sliced pork, pork ribs etc. Now you can imagine my surprise when I moved to Texas and walked in to my first Texas BBQ restaurant only to look at the menu and not see pork listed anywhere. Everything is beef, Brisket, ribs, chopped BBQ and on and on, its all beef. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good smoked brisket and have even come up with my own rub and method of doing it myself but its just not the same as the BBQ pork I grew up with. Another odd thing about Texas BBQ joints is the cole slaw. Every where you go they have cole slaw on the menu but what you get is a scoop of shredded cabbage soaked in vinegar. This is not cole slaw people. Cole slaw needs to be thick and creamy with hints of vinegar and sweetness. Oh and did I mention the creaminess? for this you need mayo and not just any mayo, you need Helmann’s mayo. It is the perfect consistency and flavor for making a good southern cole slaw. So I took matters into my own hands and came up with my own pulled pork recipe. Now the one I am posting differs slightly than the one I usually make because it is Hatch Chili pepper season, so just about everything I make is getting Hatch peppers added to it.

Lets start off with the ingredients you will need.

Pulled Pork

1 pork loin (about 3 to 4 pounds)

Chili powder

Garlic powder

olive oil

hatch chili peppers, about a pound (optional)

BBQ sauce (regular Kraft works great)

Cole Slaw

1 large bag shredded cabbage

sugar

apple cider vinegar

garlic powder

chili powder

Mayo (Helmanns)

Black Pepper

Salt

And for the sandwich you will need Garlic Toast (or Texas Toast). This is not optional. You have to have it for it to taste like it came from the east coast.

Lets get started on the pork first since it takes a while to cook in a crock pot.

First you will want to heat up a large frying pan with a couple table spoons of olive oil in the bottom. Once the pan is heated you will put the pork loin in and sear it on all sides making sure to season it pretty heavily with chili powder and garlic powder. Now we are not cooking it all the way through here, just searing the outside. Once that is done you want to drop it in the crock pot. Add enough water to cover it only about a quarter of the way. Cover it and let it cook on high. We will be adding something else very soon.

Now lets move on to the Hatch peppers.

You will want to roast the hatch peppers on the grill or in an over close to the broiler. You want the outside of the peppers to turn black. once they are black you will immediately put them into a plastic storage bag so that they can sweat. This makes it much easier to remove the outer skin. Let them sweat for about 20 minutes then remove them from the bag and start peeling the skin off. Once all the skin is removed you will cut the top stem off and remove all of the seeds. Then chop the peppers into about half an inch pieces.  After all of the peppers are chopped you will add them to the crock pot with the pork.

And now it is time for the cole slaw. Yes you do need this even if you think you don’t like cole slaw. That is probably because you have never had it done right and I am now going to show you how to do it right. mmm…mmm…

In a large mixing bowl you want to dump in the cabbage and then pour in about half a cup of apple cider vinegar. no spoon in about 4 tablespoons of sugar and then sprinkle in about 2 tablespoons of garlic powder. 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Go ahead and give that a stir and then add about to cups of mayo and stir it all together. You will want to taste it to see if it needs a little more of anything. Some people like it more sweet and some like it less. Once you get the flavor where you like it put it in the fridge to cool while the pork is cooking.

about 4 to 5 hours later…

Check the pork to see if it is ready. You will want to use a spatula or long handled spoon and press down on the pork. If it starts to come apart pretty easy then you are ready to go. Turn the heat off and move the pork to a large mixing bowl to cool. Once it has cooled you can start pulling it apart into smaller chunks with your fingers. Now use a slotted spoon and scoop out the peppers (making sure to let the excess water drain) and add them to the pork. Add about two cups of BBQ sauce and stir it all together until everything has been coated in sauce.

Now its time to assemble the sandwich.

Heat up the garlic bread and place two pieces on a plate. Now on one piece add a big scoop of pork and spread it around to cover the whole thing. Add a nice coat of BBQ sauce and then a big scoop of cole slaw on top of it (trust me on this, you will love it). Now put the other piece of garlic bread on top. You may want to cut it in half because it is going to be messy, but that is part of the fun. All that is left to do is grab a hand full of napkins and sit down and enjoy.

Thanks for reading

JMW