Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Peek Bacony Chicken and Rice Bake

Chicken, slow baked over rice and bacon, in a flavorful cream sauce.

No Peek Bacony Chicken and Rice Bake

This chicken and rice dish is one of my personal favorites and a site favorite and it is awesome! Now I know that we've all had the usual condensed soup with rice and chicken bake, but this one is just a bit different. It's loaded with flavor from the bacon and seasonings ...

I'm tellin' ya the rice is just over the top! You really gotta try it.

It's my adaptation of a recipe by Her Majesty Jill Conner Browne, THE Sweet Potato Queen, from her book Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner).

I love Jill, well first, cuz she's a Mississippian - matter of fact, she's from Jackson, our state capitol - but I think that I love her the most because she loves food. Especially bacon. And butter.

In other words, she ain't afraid to eat! Gotta love a gal like that.

I like bone-in chicken thighs here, and I wrote this recipe for only 4 of them for me and The Cajun, however, I sometimes do increase it to a 9 x 13 inch pan. You can use a whole chicken, large bone-in breasts, all thighs, leg quarters, or thighs and legs - pretty much whatever your heart desires, though I don't recommend boneless, skinless breasts.

Here's what I do to increase the recipe.

Lay out 6 to 8 slices (or more) of bacon in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Mix the rice as noted in the recipe to coat it with some of the soup mixture and pour over the bacon. I still use only 1 cup of long grain, raw rice on top of the bacon. I do not double the rice.

Add chicken on top of rice and season as in the recipe. I don't double any of the seasonings either.

Mix 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, instead of just one, but still only use 1 cup of water, mixed with the remaining seasonings noted in the recipe. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake as directed. This works out perfect for me.

It cooks low and slow, so the chicken is falling off the bone tender, and it and the rice are so full of flavor it's a sin! One thing to note, especially if you do increase the size, and especially if you are not certain your oven is accurate - you may need to go a little longer on the time. Check the rice in the middle and the internal temperature of your chicken using an instant read thermometer. Cover it back up and return it to the oven.

Give it a try sometime - I just know you'll love it!! Here's how to make it.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. We start off with that bacon. In a 9 x 9 square I used 4 slices, cut in half, but whatever pan you're using   just make sure that it covers the bottom.

Now in a separate bowl, dump in one can of cream of chicken soup. Add a cup of water to that. Then add the nutmeg, dried oregano, and dried parsley.

Whisk that all together real good.

I got a tip from a reader to mix the rice with some of the soup mix instead of just layering the raw rice on top of the bacon and I have since written it into the recipe. When you mix up the soup, reserve about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the soup mix and mix that with the rice. This helps to ensure that the rice is cooked through and flavored well. Thanks CW!

Dollop over the bacon. 

And carefully spread it across the bacon.

Now lay whatever chicken you're using on top of the rice. I've used all thighs, all drumsticks or a mix of the two, even a whole chicken cut up. I don't recommend pulling the skin off of the chicken - I think it really needs to stay on there to cook the rice and flavor the dish, but you can certainly pull it off when you eat it.

Season chicken with the salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder and Creole or Cajun seasoning, if using, and place on top of the rice mixture. 

Pour the remaining soup mixture all over and around the chicken - don't stir anything up though!

And some paprika.

Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil or use a double layer of regular foil, adding one layer and sealing it, then another layer and sealing it separately.

Put it in the upper or middle level of your oven at 300 degrees F and bake for 2 hours and don't check on it, don't peek at it, just leave it to cook.

Now you might be thinking you'll up the temp and go for a shorter cooking time.

Don't do it.

You'll end up having to cook it this long anyway for the rice to be cooked and then you'll burn up your bacon. Ask me how I know.

This might work for the crockpot, though I can't attest to the success of that either since I've not done it that way and I'm not a huge fan of rice or pasta in the crockpot.

Cooking the chicken itself would probably work fine, but since the bacon in this baked version crisps up a little bit in the bottom of the baking dish, so that you get bits and pieces of it as you scoop out the rice, I'm not sure how that would work out in a crockpot. If you try it, let me know!

This dish is so good just as it is written for the oven, that I'm of the thinking that if it ain't broke, don't go trying to fix it!

After 2 hours (or a little bit longer if you double this), carefully uncover, check the rice in the center to see if it is cooked through. If not, cover it back up and let it cook a little bit longer. When it's ready, smell the wonderful goodliness of it and serve it up. Be sure to scoop down into that rice and snag some of that bacon when you plate it though for sure!!

This is a doubled version in a 9 x 13-inch pan with a mix of thighs and legs. Doesn't that look so good? 

It is just so melt-in-your-mouth-tender and loaded with flavor that I swear you are gonna pick that bone up and just chew it dry!!

And the rice. Oh my goodness, the rice. It is just so delicious you will roll your eyes back in your head. I swear I could just eat a whole plate of the rice!!!

Hope you like it too - now go make some and let me know what you think.

For more of my favorite chicken recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

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Posted by on March 5, 2009
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