Chicken Kitchen Chop Chop
Even though JBF Awards department staffer Janie Schneider is known around the office for the elaborate dinners she prepares for herself and law student boyfriend, Russell, it’s this simple, homey dish that she makes when she’s homesick for Miami. It’s her adaptation of the chicken and rice dish from the Chicken Kitchen chain (a South Florida cult favorite) that she enjoyed growing up.
“When I moved to New York my sister (who still lives in Miami) would call me on her way home from Chicken Kitchen and I always wished I was in the car with her. So I decided to make my own version of Chop Chop. It’s not as good, but the curry mustard sauce reminds me of high school afternoons by the pool,” says Janie.
“Okay, so it’s glorified fast food,” she admits. “Some say it’s similar to arroz con pollo, but when you’re Jewish and don’t have a Cuban grandmother to make that dish for you, this hits the spot.”
- 1 whole bone-in chicken breast, skin on (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the chicken)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup yellow rice
- 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 4 ounces romaine or iceberg lettuce, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Place the chicken breasts skin-side up on a baking sheet. Coat with the olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottom saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the chicken broth over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Add the rice, stirring for the first minute, then cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook until rice is plumped and soft, about 20 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, make the curry mustard sauce. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, curry powder, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add a little water to thin it out if necessary.
When the chicken is ready to handle, peel off the skin and remove the meat from the bone. Discard the skin and bone and chop the chicken into chunks.
Pour the rice onto a large platter. Top with the tomatoes, lettuce, and onions, and place the chicken on top. If you are using cheddar cheese, put it on top of the hot chicken so the cheese melts a bit.
Pour the sauce over the dish. Serve hot.
Enough for two, with leftovers to bring for lunch the next day