Mexican Chicken Tenders and Rice
In this take on arroz con pollo, the tenders get a double dose of flavor: Spices, lime juice and oil are used to season them, and they’re served atop a flavorful rice pilaf. You can use brown rice; adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Make ahead: The onion and bell pepper can be diced up to 24 hours in advance.
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mild chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
2 large limes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste or 2 tablespoons regular
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
3 1/4 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, for serving
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lay a large piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter. Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and oregano in a small bowl.
Arrange the chicken on the parchment in a single layer. Use half the seasoning mixture to sprinkle the tenderloins evenly on both sides.
Cut one of the limes in half, squeezing all of its juice evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Rub the chicken on both sides to evenly distribute the spices, juice and oil. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a 4-quart shallow nonstick braising pan, ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken; cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate; repeat with the remaining chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, bell pepper and a pinch of salt to the pan, plus more oil if needed. Cook, stirring, 4 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the tomato paste and the remaining spice mixture; cook, stirring to combine, 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to incorporate. Add the broth; increase the heat to medium-high and stir to combine; cook until the broth begins to boil.
Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and arrange the cooked chicken over the rice. Cover and bake 8 minutes, then check to see whether the rice has cooked through and all of the broth has been absorbed. If not, bake 5 minutes more or until rice has cooked through. Remove from the oven, uncover and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve from the cooking pot. Cut the remaining lime into wedges to serve on the side. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 370 calories, 32 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 80 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar.