February 06, 2011

Spring Chicken with Leeks and Peas Served with Lemon Rice

"Feel free to make this dish in all four seasons. I just call it 'Spring Chicken' because it tastes light and crisp, like spring air, and because 'Spring Chicken' sounds more appetizing than 'Leeky Chicken,' which was what I called an earlier version of the recipe." - A side note from Rachael Ray's cookbook. 

Omit the chicken and you've got a quick and easy meal to put together for "Meatless Monday". The rice is refreshing with the lemon peel stirred in and is then topped with the chicken, leeks, and peas with white wine. The white wine and veggies with the lemon rice is what really stands out in this meal. The chicken is bland and adds nothing more than a lean protein to this meal. I think that shrimp would do much better in this dish.

This dish came together in less than 30 minutes making it an ideal meal for a weeknight. The prep time and clean up was just as quick.

The dish is light and well balanced with reasonable taste. Chicken tends to be our go-to protein of choice in our household since it tends to be lighter on our grocery budget. Whichever way you choose to make this: meatless, with chicken, or shrimp this will not disappoint.

Spring Chicken with Leeks and Peas Served with Lemon Rice
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white rice
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed of tough tops and roots, slice in half lengthwise then into half moons - Be sure to rinse the leeks well since dirt and grit gets in between the layers.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine - You may also substitute chicken broth is you don't have the wine on hand. I recommend the wine though since I feel this gave the dish an incredible amount of flavor.
  • 10 oz frozen peas
  • salt and black pepper
  • handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped - I used dried parsley.
And Action:
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a small pot. Stir in the rice, lemon zest, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 17-18 minutes or until tender.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and the butter. Once the butter melts into the oil add the chicken to the pan and saute until lightly golden on both sides for about 4 minutes.

Cook the leeks with the chicken until they wilt down, 3 minutes. Add the white wine to the pan and scrape up any pan drippings. Add the peas and heat through, another minute or two. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemon juice over the chicken and leeks.

Fluff the rice with a fork. Add the parsley and toss the rice to combine.

Pile the chicken and leeks on dinner plates and top with a small mound of lemon rice. Rachael Ray suggested using an ice cream scoop to serve the rice which is a novel idea but when you've got a hungry guy and toddler ready to eat presentation normally goes by the wayside.

This recipe was a great alternative to the standard sauteing of chicken in olive oil for a quick protein for dinner. Another "Stir The Pot" item on the list gets to be marked off, number six, chicken. Although not anywhere as good as the Chicken Francese with Wilted Spinach it was delicious enough to fit the bill. 2 items down 22 to go!

Don't forget about the Culinary Smackdown Battle! Check it out to link your recipe and for a chance to win a prize! Best of luck!


Lisa said...

This dish definitely makes me think of spring with all those light fresh flavors. It sounds very tasty and healthy.

Pretend Chef said...

Lisa - This recipe is one of Rachael Ray's "healthier" ones. The flavors really tasted fresh and light. The addition of lemon peel in the rice was fantastic.

Brandie@thecountrycook said...

I am so hooked on leeks lately. I never really cooked too much with them before but I am hooked now. This recipe looks and sounds perfect!! :)

Indonesian In Turkey said...

What a rich dish. The leeks I believe give great savory taste.. I love it! ^_^

Pretend Chef said...

Brandie - I love trying new ingredients and leeks are ones that I've been introduced to since blogging. I love them!

Indonesian In Turkey - Thank you! Leftovers were perfect today!

ping said...

Hey Rochelle, I'd like to present you with another award but unfortunately you'll have to attend my virtual potluck party to grab it ... doing it differently this time. Anyone's invited ... ummm ... ladies only, for now.

Pretend Chef said...

Ping - That sounds great! I'll head over to your blog and check it out!

Jeanette said...

Sounds like a nice light dish, great for a weeknight dinner!

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