Cooktop Cove: How to make spicy-optional garlic chicken, mushroom and rice casserole
Is one of your resolutions this year to eat less meat? If so, this simple casserole has all the comfort of your tried-and-true favorites while allowing you to control the poultry portions. By dicing the chicken, you'll find a little can go a long way to prevent feelings of deprivation.
If it's beautiful presentation (or more chicken) you're after, I have also included a full-breast version that looks as impressive as it tastes.
Cooking the rice raw in the casserole — instead of spooning the chicken and sauce over the top for serving — allows the grain to rehydrate and cook in a flavored broth, giving you seasoned rice that could stand alone in taste. The mushrooms similarly soak up the liquid like little sponges, adding even more depth of flavor.
Pro tip: Another handy tweak you can make while constructing this one-dish meal is the level of spice and heat. By omitting the poblano and jalapeño peppers and red pepper flakes, you'll get a milder result while maintaining the buttery, garlicky goodness. I suggest at least trying the poblano even if you're opposed to spicy. The poblano has more flavor than other traditional hot peppers. If you have highly sensitive taste buds, try adding half the amount recommended in the recipe to be safe.
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