My family was comprised of women who were not warm and fuzzy. They were efficient. Mom, in particular, was not all shy about noting the shortcomings of her offspring. Some of this was the result of having been the youngest and (I suspect) unexpected. More of it was because on a farm, sons were what you wanted. When Bubby fell pregnant with the baby who grew up to be my mother, she already had three daughters, all living, and two sons, one who’d died six days after being born.
Mom’s first act of defiance was being a fourth daughter instead of a second living son. So, instead of growing up helping Zaydie with the milking and the fieldwork, she learned to cook and clean, the latter not as well as the former.
Bubby, who’d been married off at 14 to escape an abusive family situation, wasn’t much of an emotional nurturer. But she could cook, and she did. It’s how she showed her love, and that attribute was passed down to my mom. Kind words and tender gestures were served up on rare occasions. Food was the way Mom, her mother, and her sisters expressed their feelings. This chicken recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mother. At least one of my daughters makes it regularly for her family. In honor of Bubby, Mom, the aunts and all the moms who have been and will be, I’m sharing it here.
Bubby’s Chicken & Rice
Preheat the oven to 350.
Note that I’m not mentioning quantities. Among the many great things about this dish (taste being paramount, of course) is that you can scale it up or down in terms of quantity. The last time I made it before sharing it here, I used one sweet onion & an eight-ounce package of baby portobellos.
Put in frying or saute pan with oil of choice and heat until onions are translucent and mushrooms have juiced.
(I used olive oil, and in another of my mother’s fabulous hacks, I buy garlic cloves in the three or four at a time range, peel them and drop them into a jar, cover them with olive oil and keep in the fridge. If I want garlic infused olive oil, voila! Pour off, fish out cloves, replenish as desired.)
I used short-grain brown last night, but any rice is fine (Bubby and Mom used white.) And by “rice,” I mean raw rice. Stir around until rice is hot. Add some salt and pepper. Pour the whole mess into a roasting pan that you can cover.
Now, it’s liquid time! (Yay! Liquid time!) The right amount is double however much rice you used. But here’s where it gets fun. You’re going to use half water and half white wine.
(I have used red when I didn’t have white. It wasn’t great. Last night though, I had two cups of rice and used two cups of water, 1.5 cups of white and 1/2 cup of cabernet, and it might be the best batch I’ve ever made. Still, the first time you do it, I’d go the white/water route just to get a baseline.)
Heat up the liquid in the sauce pan and pour it into the roasting pan.
Mazal Tov! You’ve arrived at chicken!!!! (Remember, this is a chicken recipe, after all. You must have been wondering when the chicken was going to show up.)
You want cut-up pieces. Bubby and Mom kept the skin on. I take it off. Place the chicken on top of the liquid and rice. Cover. Put in the oven and cook for 90-120 minutes.
Eat and be happy.