Carmelina’s Chicken and Rice Casserole
A Rebel Rooster
During my teenage years, when my siblings and I were still living at home on a small dead end street in a small town in New England, my father brought home a little yellow chick for Easter given to him by his friend who raised chickens.
My father thought it was a great idea because we had raised chickens back in Portugal and soon, we’d be eating fresh eggs every morning. He made the little chick, a coop under our back porch and eventually the chick became our family’s pet.
My parents couldn’t tell whether the chick was a rooster or a hen that would lay eggs. Apparently sexing chicks is difficult and it is said that only professionals know how to determine it.
The chick grew bigger week by week, and we soon realized that the little chick had turned into a white Leghorn Rooster!But he was no ordinary rooster; he was very temperamental and quite a rebel who often escaped his coop, terrorizing our family and the neighborhood.
My rooster was a traffic cop.
He designated himself that position by stopping any car that drove into the street by parking himself right in front of it! Honking would ensue, followed by a loud screams of; “get the damn rooster off the road”!
Our rooster also had an aversion to anything with wheels; my father’s wheel barrel, my brother’s bicycle and especially one particular pink bicycle owned by one of my sister’s teenage friends who lived up the street!
The poor girl tried to speed by our house to elude his assaults, but the rooster was too fast for her. He terrorized her daily to the point that she eventually stopped riding by our house. She opted to use the opposite side of the street instead but unfortunately, the poor girl’s strategy didn’t work and he always found her.
My rooster was a leg man.
The females in my family lived in fear of having our legs pecked and scratched every time we walked outside our front door. Many pairs of pantyhose were torn up every weekday morning when my sister left for work that summer.
It reached the point where she’d have to ask one of us to be her lookout so she could make a run for her car. “Where’s the Galo” “Where’s the Galo” shouted my sister as she headed out the door.
If you’ve ever been pecked by a wild tempered rooster’s beak and clawed in your bare legs you know what I mean. If you haven’t, I can tell you it really hurts, because I was also attacked all summer long myself.
As that summer went on, the rooster grew bigger and his early morning “cock-a-doodle-doo” made it impossible for my family, or any one in the neighborhood to sleep past sunrise. Soon, the neighbors began knocking on our front door to complain and something had to be done about it.
My mother was a very resourceful woman and a great cook! I’ll let you figure out the rest of the story.
Meanwhile here’s her recipe for chicken and rice.
1 small fryer chicken 3-4 lbs (cut into about 10 pieces)
2 cups of long grain rice
1 small onion chopped
1 small garlic clove chopped
1 bay leaf
2 large carrots chopped
1 small very ripe tomato
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp salt
1 pinch of black pepper
1/2 cup of white wine
2 cups of chicken broth
4 cups of boiling water
Wash, and pat dry the chicken. Marinate with the salt, pepper, paprika, wine, and let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready to cook, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a heavy stove top casserole pan or deep skillet until translucent.
Add the chicken, carrots, tomato, and bay leaf.
Cook on medium heat until the chicken gets browned stirring once in a while. Add the wine, chicken broth and any remaining marinade.
Let the chicken cook on medium-low for a few minutes and then cover and cook for at least 30 minutes stirring once in a while.
After the 30 minutes add the 4 cups of boiling water, let it come to a boil and add the rice.
Stir, wait for the rice to come to a boil, stir, cover, and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Leave covered and let the rice sit for about 10 minutes. (The rice will continue to cook)
Uncover, stir and test rice. Add seasonings to your desired taste. *(I like a firm rice, but you may let it cook longer if you choose)