Chicken and rice

This was the first thing I learned to cook. In fact for a while it was the only thing I knew how to cook. I used to make all sorts of variations on it. Whenever we had leftover roast meat of any kind this is what I would do with it, and if I didn’t have any leftovers, I’d use minced beef. And when I had a vegetarian girlfriend — which seemed to happen a lot — I’d do it with vege mince.

It’s real comfort food. If you are a student you could probably live on it.


  • Leftover roast or anything minced — roast chicken works best
  • Rice, ½ to ¾ cup per person
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Dash of Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Onion, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Red pepper, chopped
  • Tinned kidney beans, strained (optional)
  • Paprika, a good sprinkling
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce, to taste
  • Tomato paste
  • A few pinches of dried parsley
  • 1 Pinch of dried thyme (for chicken)
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Glass or so of white wine
  • Peas, frozen
  • Sweet corn, fresh, frozen or tinned
  • Green beans, fresh or frozen, chopped


  • Pot
  • Big pan — a risotto or paella pan is ideal


  1. Prepare all the ingredients, you’ll need them all to hand. If using roast chicken, tearing it up by hand is best. Other roasts should be cut to bite-sized pieces.
  2. Cook the rice as you usually do, adding the turmeric and lemon juice. If it is ready before you need it, that’s cool. Strain it and put it aside.
  3. Heat the oil in the pan.
  4. Gently fry the onion with a pinch of salt.
  5. Add the meat. If using mince, cook it until it is no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks.
  6. Add the peppers, kidney beans, herbs, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, tomato paste and the squeeze of lemon.
  7. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  8. Pour in the wine and cook off the alcohol.
  9. Add the vegetables, and continue to stir. You may want to add a little boiled water to moisten, but don’t make a sauce, this is a dry dish.
  10. When the vegetables are just done, add in the strained rice.
  11. Mix well and taste. You should get tomato, a hint of lemon and a little kick. Adjust and season as necessary.
  12. Serve, enjoy and leave the mess that was your kitchen ‘till the morning.

What you should know

Color is key here, it should be bright and colorful not a sludgy brown. Go easy on the liquid, but don’t let it dry out and burn. The vegetables should end up still crisp, not mushy and the spice should not blow your socks off.

Re: Chicken and rice

Don’t forget to save some wine for the chef too!

This is a great recipe, especially for leftovers. Out of rice? Try serving over pasta or potatoes.

(For the kids, I substitute carrots for red peppers. The little bugars won’t eat them, yet.)

Re: Chicken and rice