Monday, April 19, 2010

Mexican Chicken and 'Rice'

My friend sent me a link to this recipe the other day and there really was no choice but to try it. I was intrigued by the thought of cauliflower as a rice substitute. So I delved right in and tried it out. Whenever my dish looks just like the original cook's picture, I get excited (and reassured), and that's exactly what happened this time:So, was this meal tasty? Yes. Definitely. I went back for seconds - and maybe thirds. The texture was great - I told my husband it was Mexican Rice and he didn't even notice it wasn't truly rice until I mentioned to him that it was actually cauliflower! How cool is that? My kids both ate it as well. However, I wouldn't place the flavor as Mexican Rice. I would probably just have called it "Yummy Pretend Rice Dinner".
Oh, and I added in Pancetta. It's just Italian bacon - and we all know anything Italian food is synonymous with deliciousness. My husband loves pancetta and he rarely gets it, so I figured this would be a treat for him. It went very well with it.

Oddly enough, I didn't feel like adding cheese to it. I'm sure it's good - and it's rare that I don't think a meal needs more cheese, but the flavors were rich and yummy without it, so I left it out. I served the whole dish with avocados and salsa on top and mangos on the side. Mmmm...

3 stars - worth a try, but not something I'll make often. I am very interested in more recipes from this website, however, as I think that was such a fresh and fun take on adding more vegetables to meals without 'masking' them.Oh, and I don't have a food processor (someday!!), and my blender was turning the cauliflower into a smoothie, so I just chopped it. Turns out cauliflower chops easily because it crumbles apart so easily. It took a few minutes, but wasn't too bad.

Recipe here and below:

Mexican Chicken and "Rice"
slightly adapted from Elana's Pantry

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 head cauliflower, trimmed
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
juice from half a lime
1 avocado
grated cheese, if desired (I used Mexican cotija chese)
salsa, if desired

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and over medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft. Add celery to skillet and saute for 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, place cauliflower in a food processor with the "S" blade and process until it becomes the texture of rice. Add cauliflower to skillet, cover and cook 5-10 minutes, until tender.

Mix chilies and chicken into skillet, then stir in salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cilantro, and lime juice.

Serve, topping with avocado, cheese and salsa if desired

Makes about 4-5 servings.

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