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Baked Rice with Chicken and Mushrooms from David Tanis in the New York Times

Baked Rice with Chicken and Mushrooms from David Tanis in the New York Times
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They line up down the block the Halal Guys Chicken and Rice
Chicken and Rice in one form or another may be one the world’s most ubiquitous foods.  You can find it in many guises. Claypot Chicken Rice is popular from Southern China to Singapore and Malaysia.  The latter two countries join Thailand in loving Hainanese Chicken Rice from Hainan Province in China. On to India where Chicken Biryani rules the roost. In Central Brazil, Galinhada is topped with hard-cooked eggs.  All over Latin America, Arroz con Pollo is a beloved staple.  And closer to home, The Halal Guys, which started as a food cart in midtown Manhattan, has franchises that are opening coast to coast and in Canada.  Maybe it has something to do with its nickname, “Chicken and Rice”.  We do know it has the longest food cart line is the city.  Aside from its universality, what’s the appeal of the dish?

For one thing, it’s very budget-friendly and an absolutely brilliant way of feeding a lot of people for not a lot of money.  The author of this particular recipe is David Tanis. The New York Times food writer has some great bonafides.  His cookbook “A Platter of Figs” (Artisan 2008), is on Ina Garten’s Best Cookbook Ever list.   Tanis was at home fancying an Indian style biryani when he discovered he didn’t have the right stuff on hand. What he did have –mushrooms, garlic, thyme and parsley—struck him as more French than Indian so he took the dish in that direction.  He ended up with savory, baked rice casserole that I think is well worth putting together this or any other weekend.   It takes about an hour and twenty minutes all told.  Tanis calls for 2 lbs. of skinless boneless chicken thighs.  If anything, err on the side of more chicken.  Secondly, season this aggressively with salt and pepper.  I was amused to read Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of New York’s “Prune” share her recipe for Chicken and Rice for the restaurant’s staff meal. She said the most commonly used condiment at hers is Sriracha. Here is the recipe:

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