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Chicken and Rice, A Staple

Guess I should not have counted the number of days in a row a brand new meal was served.  Today an all time favorite from the T&T list was served as backup to the dinner originally planned.  Chicken and Rice was one of the few meals saved from my childhood at moms.  She'd make a pot of chicken and rice when she knew in advance the week was going to be busy.  As an adult looking back, on the days when dinner was not served at the table because one or the other was working late, I don't know when my parents ever ate dinner, if they ate dinner at all.  Those are the nights when chicken and rice saved the day as it is a meal that only gets better as it sits in the fridge waiting its turn.

There are many variations of chicken and rice.  Some with veggies, some with creamed soup, some baked, and some flavored to different ethnic flares.  Mom's chicken and rice was one step above poverty food and I LOVED IT! Wait, I still LOVE it.

One chicken, boiled and shredded
One yellow onion, finely diced
One celery head (more details on this later)
One bay leaf
1-1.5 cups white rice
Salt and Pepper

In a large heavy bottom pot, place quartered chicken including hearts, gizzards, neck.  To pot add yellow onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, celery base*, and water to cover chicken.  Cook on low until chicken is literally falling off the bone adding more water as needed. 

From cooled pot, remove celery base and chicken bones.  Return chicken pieces to pot, along with celery moon slices and rice.  Based upon the amount of rice added more water may or may not be needed.  If adding one cup of rice, two and half cups of broth will be needed.  If adding 1.5 cups of rice, close to four cups of water will be needed.  Upon addition of water, give chicken, celery, rice mixture a good stir adding more salt and pepper if needed.  Cook on low until rice is done.  Check after 20 minutes to see if more water or chicken broth is needed.

* Celery will be cut into thirds.  Not equal in sizing, the uneven thirds each serve their purpose.  From the celery head, cut off bottom base where the white turns green (this goes into the stock pot).  To the remaining two thirds, remove the thin inner ribs with leaves, slice into 1/8"-1/2" thick half moons and set aside for later usage.  This should amount to about a one cup of celery moon slices. What is left of the celery are what is now know as the heart, the larger thick ribs with no leaves perfect for snacking. 

Scaled for Likability: Great
Arroz con Pollo, Chicken Fried Rice, or Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo.  I have had them all but love mom's plain chicken and rice the best.  When times are hard thighs only with extra rice and celery are cooked.  What I never skimp on is the homemade chicken broth.  If a chicken cannot be boiled off the none, then chicken and rice is not had.  Therefore anytime a chicken needs to be boiled for a recipe and the broth is not needed, the broth is frozen for later usage.  When using leftover chicken broth, the broth is boiled with the celery base and onion before adding the boneless chicken to cook.  For meals that are simple in flavors such as this chicken and rice, it is important to use quality broth for a rich, depth of flavors.  Trust me, it is worth the time. 

Thank you, mom!

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