Creamy Chicken and Rice
Creamy Chicken and Rice is comfort food at its most addicting – and just also happens to be made in one pot with minimal prep. This Chicken and Rice recipe is easy, warm, comforting, fool proof and oh so satisfying. It’s basically a chicken risotto infused with juicy chicken, tender veggies, fire roasted, tomatoes, Parmesan and mozzarella but is BAKED so it’s SO easy but every bit as decadently creamy! Once you make this Chicken and Rice recipe once, you will be amazed at just how simple the technique is - and so versatile you’ll and find yourself going rogue with all sorts of veggies and flavor combos. And of course, your entire family will want you to make it again and again! And bonus, this Creamy Chicken and Rice reheats beautifully (unlike traditional rice), so it’s the meal that keeps on giving.
Servings 6 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots chopped small
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice DON’T USE DIFFERENT RICE
- 1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, well drained
- 4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth warmed
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano, salt
- 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, dried thyme
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup thawed frozen petite peas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Pat chicken dry and add to a bowl. Toss with “chicken seasonings;” set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken and the rice and sauté until chicken is opaque, 4-5 minutes (it won’t be cooked through yet). Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
Add diced tomatoes, warm chicken broth and seasonings. Turn heat to high and bring to a simmer. When it starts to simmer around the edges, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until rice is tender.
When you remove the rice from the oven, there should be a little liquid that hasn’t been absorbed yet; if your rice is on the drier side, add 1/4-1/2 cup warmed chicken broth. Stir in 2 tablespoons cubed butter (optional) and Parmesan Cheese. Stir vigorously until butter and cheese are melted (this releases starch and makes it creamier).
Stir in mozzarella cheese until melted followed by peas. Stir in additional chicken broth if desired for a creamier/saucier chicken and rice. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I like more of both).
Tips and Tricks
- Use arborio rice. As detailed earlier, you must use arborio rice or your Chicken and Rice recipe can easily become mushy. Arborio rice ensures creamy rice every time. It can be found in almost every grocery store alongside the other rice varieties. If you are having trouble locating it, you can also purchase it on amazon.
- Don't rinse rice. In contrast to other rice recipes, we WANT the extra starch because that is what translates into Creamy Chicken and Rice.
- Drain tomatoes. Make sure to drain the tomatoes very well in a fine mesh sieve so they don’t add extra liquid to the rice which will throw off the ratios.
- Warm broth. Only use warm broth so the rice will cook evenly. Adding cold broth reduces the temperature of the rice and interrupts the cooking process. Warming the broth before adding it to the rice also releases more starch from each grain of rice whereas cold broth will cook the rice while shocking it into holding onto its starches.
- Bake on. If your rice is not done (too crunchy) but the broth is gone, simply add more broth and bake until the rice is on the softer side of al dente.
- Add broth. When your Chicken and Rice comes out of the oven, there should be a little liquid that hasn’t been absorbed yet; if your rice is on the drier side, add ¼ -1/2 cup warmed chicken broth.
- Stir vigorously. After you add the butter and Parmesan, stir vigorously. The stirring isn’t just to combine the ingredients but is to stimulate the rice. Arborio rice becomes creamy as it is vigorously stirred and the starch is released.
- Salt to taste. If your risotto tastes like its missing something – it is probably salt. Salt enhances all of the other flavors. Add additional salt to taste a little at a time if needed.
- Heavy cream. Is absolutely optional but makes the rice even creamier. I would not add heavy cream, however, if your rice is already on the saucier side.