When I did my first cruise on USS Washington (CVN-73) Laura and I had not yet been married a year. She wasn't much of a domestic goddess so she didn't cook much. Imagine my surprise when I returned from that first cruise to find out she had prepared dinner for me.
Let me interrupt this tale to relay the fact that on Washington we had some kind of chicken and some kind of rice for every single meal, including breakfast. The chicken may have been eggs for breakfast, but there was always rice. Steamed rice, rice pilaf, Mexican rice, and yes, you guessed it, chicken and rice.
Needless to say I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about the evening meal.
It was the last time she cooked chicken and rice. In fact, it was the last time she prepared a post-cruise meal for me at all. It was not, however, the last time I heard about it. If there are any active duty military reading this post take some advice; if the wife cooks you something when you get back home, shut up and eat it. With a smile. Without comments, except to tell her how great it is and how much you appreciate her going through all the trouble. Trust me on this.
At any rate, today I had a hankering for some good old fashioned chicken and rice.*
Chicken and Rice
1 medium chicken, 4-6 lbs
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme (1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme)
Ground black pepper
3 cups rice
Combine the chicken, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, and a tablespoon each of salt and pepper in a large pot, add water to cover. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Add water as necessary to keep the chicken covered, and continue to gently simmer until the chicken is fully cooked (the juices from the thigh will run clear), about 40 minutes to an hour.
Remove the chicken from the broth and allow it to cool for approx 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to debone. Strain the vegetables from the broth and put them into a large bowl. Pour the strained broth into another container so that you can use the stock pot.
Debone the chicken and place it in the bowl with the vegetables. Add about a half cup of broth to moisten the chicken back up and stir well. Put the chicken and vegetables back into the stock pot. Add 6 cups of broth and the rice, stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is done.
You will have about 2 quarts of broth left over. Freeze it and use it in other recipes, it's good stuff.
*Please note, this is not her recipe. In fact, I don't think she had a recipe other than cook rice, throw some canned chicken into it. As I said, she wasn't much of a cook.