Thursday, May 13, 2010

Balsamic Chicken over Brown Rice

I love brown rice. Making brown rice is not difficult. I promise. Do not be afraid. All you need is a covered pot, stove, and TIME!  Brown rice takes a loooooong time to cook. That time is worth it because TIME yields nutty, flavorful perfect brown rice.  

I really like the flavor of organic brown basmati. The basic recipe is no secret. It is on the back of the bag.

I think rice made without salt is not worth eating. I also use olive oil, not butter in my rice. Follow the cooking instructions on the bag. 

M's Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

I do the following. Combine rice, water, salt, and olive oil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil. Stir and cover with lid. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand in covered pot for 10 minutes. Resist temptation and DO NOT OPEN! 

You may have to play with the temperature setting of your stove the first few times you make brown rice to yield perfection. Why? ... because all stoves and cookware conduct heat differently. Betty Crapper says so. 

Betty Crapper is bossy. Just ask her sister.

Brown rice takes about one hour. Start the rice then begin prepping the rest of your meal. 

I have a nine month old. 

Sometimes, it takes all day to prep for dinner, but I digress...

You will need balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and chicken breasts. 

I will spare you the picture of raw, naked chicken breasts. I am recovering from raw chicken phobia. I understand it is pretty common. Know that I used organic, free range chicken. Yes, it is more expensive; however, antibiotics and hormones do not belong in my family's food. 

One day I will learn how to make chicken broth.  Must not be afraid. Must NOT be afraid!

I like to chop and measure everything before cooking. Makes my life easier, especially with a nine month old.

Rinse and dry your chicken breasts. I like to slice the two breasts in half and cut them up. It makes the meal seem bigger. 

If I had a meat tenderizer (hint, hint!) I would have pounded the pieces to make them  flat. One day.

Salt and pepper both sides. How much is up to you.


I can handle that picture because the chicken is not naked. I have made progress.

It is now time to get this party started. 

Preheat your skillet. I used medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add some olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, begin browning your chicken. My first batch took ten minutes to brown and my second batch took five minutes.

It took me a long time to learn how to brown chicken. I had many, many betty crapper moments learning how. Here is what I do to achieve 

  • Chicken must be bone dry. Use paper towels and pat the chicken dry.
  • Skillet must be pre-heated. Same for the oil.
  • Resist the temptation to touch the chicken while it is browning. Walk away. I usually wash dishes and do laundry while I wait at least five minutes before checking the first batch.
  • If the chicken is stuck to the pan ... it is not brown yet, keep waiting. It will unstick when it is browned!
  • Only turn once.
  • Brown chicken in batches. Do not let the pieces touch. Didn't you know chicken had personal body space?

Once chicken is browned remove from pan to a plate. When you are done browning the chicken, the pan will look gross. In your head, you think this pan will need serious elbow grease to clean.

You will hate Betty Crapper right now. 

Betty Crapper does not care.

Lower the heat to medium low. Add a little more oil to the pan. Saute the chopped shallots for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic. Have I told you how much I love my garlic press? Saute for about one minute.

You really, really hate Betty Crapper because at this point your pan really, really looks icky. Note, it should not be black and burnt. If it is, your pan was too hot before you added the shallots and garlic.

I promise you are about to love Betty Crapper.

Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth to the pan.

Now scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. That's where all the yummy flavor is. I like to use a wooden spatula to really scrape everything up. Turn up the heat to medium and let that sauce reduce for about five minutes. 

Even if the above didn't yield the most yummy sauce ever, it does mean no scrubbing when you clean the pan. 

See, I told you Betty Crapper was loveable.

Add your browned chicken to the pan. Cover and reduce heat to low. I let mine sit for about ten minutes until my brown rice was done. 

M's Balsamic Chicken

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 minced garlic cloves
1 chopped shallot
2 chicken breasts
extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat skillet on medium heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to skillet and heat. Brown chicken in batches. Remove chicken to a plate. Lower heat to low if too hot. Add a little more olive oil to skillet. Saute chopped shallots for about two minutes. Add minced garlic and saute for one minute. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and vinegar to skillet and scrape up all the brown bits. Raise heat to medium and allow sauce to reduce for about five minutes. Return chicken to skillet and cover. Lower heat to low until chicken is cooked through and dinner is ready to serve.


  1. welcome back! So glad to see you are posting again This looks delicious. I'm going to steal this from you and make it next week.

  2. This looks fantastic! I have raw chicken phobia, too. I'm glad I"m not the only one!
    (Wandered over from Life As Mom's linkup, by theway!)

  3. I have a raw meat phobia... chicken, turkey, beef, anything. I try to handle/look at it as little as possible! This recipe sounds great, thanks for the tip on browning chicken... I'm going to try it!

  4. Yum! I need to make this chicken. I love the flavor of balsamic vinegar! Sounds delicious!!

  5. You NEED to make chicken broth! It's SO EASY! I keep a gallon zip-top bag in my freezer and save the trimmings from vegetables until it's full. I use everything. (Cabbage makes stock bitter, though, so skip it). Carrots, onions, potato skins, and apple cores are the best - they make nice sweet stock. I've also started adding an acorn squash if I think of it... it helps thicken the stock slightly and rounds out the flavor nicely.

    Then when I roast (or buy roasted) a whole chicken, the carcass and the bag of frozen veggie bits go in the giant pot with 8-12 cups water (however much will fit) and do a nice slow boil for an hour... or two, or three or all day if I'm busy. Strain out the gross bits, skim off the fat at the top, and freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions in zip-top bags.

    Make your brown rice with broth instead of water... makes my heart go pitter patter!!!!!