Southwest Blackened Chicken Rice Bake

Do you ever have a taste for something, but not quite sure what?  Working from home today I really wanted to put something on the smoker, especially in 60-degree weather.  I was craving spicy Tex-Mex flavors though too and wanted to come up with something that would combine the two while using ingredients we already had in the house.  The result was a cheesy spicy rice casserole with smoked chicken.  While you don’t have to fire up the smoker to make this dish, the flavor was outstanding!

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SOUTHWEST BLACKENED CHICKEN RICE BAKE

Ingredients

  • 2 Bone-In Chicken Breasts
  • 3 Tbs. Blackening Seasoning – I love Hog’s Breath
  • 1 1/2 Cups Uncooked White Short Grain Rice
  • 1 1/2 Cups Black Bean Salsa
  • 1 Cup Medium Salsa
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Corn Kernels (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 6-8 Green Onions, Chopped
  • Sour Cream & Hot Sauce For Garnish

Instructions

  • Wash and dry chicken breasts.  Rub in blackening seasoning on all sides.
  • Smoke offset from heat over mesquite or your favorite wood for 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees until internal temp is 180 degrees.  You can also bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or they reach the same internal temperature of 180 degrees.  Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a 2-quart baking dish place rice, both salsas, water, corn, salt and pepper.
  • Remove skin and take chicken off bone.  Shred into bite-size pieces and add all meat to the casserole dish.  Mix all ingredients with a spoon until well combined.
  • Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 for 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven.  Check rice to make sure it’s tender.  If not, you can add a bit more water or chicken stock, stir, cover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  • Spread shredded cheese over top of the casserole and place under a broiler until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately.  Top each plate with chopped green onion,  sour cream and hot sauce to taste.

When I first baked this, I didn’t allow for enough liquid and had to add more to finish the rice cooking.  However, the recipe above should yield a perfect result!  I know you and your family will love this stick-to-your-ribs dish that gives just the right amount of bite set off by the bright flavors of green onion and sour cream.  And if you like to smoke, I would highly recommend the smoked chicken over the baked, it was awesome.  Dig in!

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