Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Spicy Rice with Chicken
and Italian Sausage

Although I normally update this blog several times a week, we have been on the road driving for most of the past five days and I have not had much time for blogging. Still, I have already discovered many new gluten free snack foods and celiac friendly restaurants along our trip through the Pacific Northwest that I will definitely write up when time permits.

Our family is currently enjoying the delights of Vancouver, British Columbia. Yesterday while walking through the Granville Island Public Market, I came upon the most delicious looking freshly made spicy Italian sausage that had been created personally by the proprietor behind the counter. With these gorgeous links and a handful of fresh vine ripened red tomatoes I was inspired to create a dish tonight which warmed our bellies (and our hearts!) against a backdrop of gray skies and gentle rain.

Much more to say about our time in Canada soon... for now, I leave you with this simple hearty meal.

Spicy Italian Sausage and Rice

What You’ll Need:

2 cups long grain white rice
3 and ¾ cups chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce
2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
2 spicy Italian sausage links cut into thin rounds
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup quartered tomatoes (vine ripened)
Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
Extra virgin olive oil

How It Works:

Fill a three quart pot with 3 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup tomato sauce and 2 cups long grain white rice. Set aside.

In a wide pan (preferably cast iron or stainless steel) heat a few tablespoons of olive oil at medium temperature until warm but not smoking. Add strips of chicken breast, sprinkle them with a little sea salt and pepper, and sear the meat on each side so that the outer flesh changes to a white color but the inside is still mostly pink.

When you’ve finished this step, transfer the chicken strips to your waiting pot of chicken broth, rice and tomato sauce.

Bring all ingredients in the pot to a boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer covered for 20 – 25 minutes or until rice is fluffy and all liquid has evaporated. Chicken will be extremely tender and moist.

While rice mixture is cooking, create your sauce.

In the same pan that you cooked the chicken breast, add the thin rounds of sausage and sauté over medium heat until they are well cooked.

Remove sausage from pan (set aside) but keep the grease in the pan. Add garlic and onions, and sauté until onions are translucent. Next, add red bell pepper and cook with your garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes until pepper is less crisp but not soggy.

Divide the remaining three quarters cup of chicken broth into halves. Add half of the stock, all of the quartered tomatoes and spices (black pepper, red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning) to your pan and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

Now it is time to add your cooked sausage and the rest of the chicken broth. Turn heat down and simmer a minute or so, until you are ready to serve.

Serve by placing a heaping bed of tender chicken and fluffy rice on a plate and then covering it with a generous spoonful of the sausage bell pepper sauce, making sure that you add a goodly amount of the liquid in addition to the meat and veggies.

Serves 4 for dinner comfortably, 6 if you will be adding a salad and dessert.

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