We’re huge fans of rice in my family, especially since I started eating gluten-free a few years ago. We like all kinds of rice — white, brown, basmati, jasmine . . . You name it, we eat it. We serve rice with at least two meals a week.
I’ve recently been introduced to a new rice of brand called Della Rice that is grown in the East Arkansas Delta, an area known for creating outstanding, aromatic specialty rice. You know I’m persnickety about where my food comes from, so I was delighted to hear that not only is the rice grown right here in the U.S., but their rice facility is gluten-free and non-GMO.
The folks at Della Rice reached out to me to see if I’d like to develop my very own “stir” for their #CreateAStir campaign.
What’s a stir, you ask? A stir is a dinner creation with rice as the canvas. Unlike a stir-fry, where the toppings are all mixed together, a stir is rice topped with layers of proteins, veggies, and sauces. The sky’s the limit with the possibilities.
As a part of the program, they also sent me an Aroma Rice Cooker. I can’t believe I spent my whole life making rice (and often burning it) on the stovetop. The rice in the rice cooker comes out perfect EVERY TIME (unless, of course, it comes unplugged during the cooking process . . . not that I’d know anything about that! Ahem.)
I was excited to #CreateAStir because a stir allows you to get creative in the kitchen, and I knew my family would love to have another rice recipe in our dinner rotation. I got inspired by a rice bowl I had one night at Bahama Breeze, and I decided to try a Caribbean rice stir with a jerk chicken rub.
Once that was decided, the next question was which rice to use. Della has several varieties to choose from, and I’ve been experimenting with them over the past couple of months. Their Arborio rice is super soft and creamy. I like add butter, salt, and pepper and eat it alongside a meat and veggie meal.
Their light brown rice tastes a lot like white rice but with the added nutritional value of brown rice, so that one has become my go-to rice for most of our meals. They even have a variety of Jasmine rice with roasted garlic that adds a delicious garlicky flavor to any rice dish. I decided to use their Basmati Light Brown Rice for this recipe because it has a neutral flavor, and it gives the dish some added nutritional value.
I found a recipe for a Caribbean Jerk rub and altered it slightly according to the spices I have on hand. You could grill the chicken, but it’s been cold here, so I decided to cook it on the stove top. To keep it moist, I cooked it in chicken stock and added some tomato paste for flavor and thickening. I added pinto beans along with some veggies — carrots, green pepper, onion, and garlic.
This makes a delicious sauce to spoon over the rice. Then I layered the cooked chicken plus carrots, red peppers, and scallions on top of that. I used my spiralizer to pretty up the carrots, and I sliced the red pepper and scallions. Then I added quartered limes and a sprinkle of cilantro on top. You definitely want to squeeze the limes over the dish for extra flavor.
I totally forgot the cilantro for these pictures, but don’t skip it! It adds another layer of flavor and freshness to this dish that takes it from good to great.
The whole dish comes together in about 40 minutes. Here’s a printable recipe for your convenience.
Caribbean Jerk Chicken Rice Stir
- 1/2 diced carrot + extra for topping
- 1/2 cup diced green pepper
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- sea salt
- 1 cup rice (Della Basmati Light Brown)
- 1 TBS olive oil or lard
- 3 boneless chicken breasts
- 15 oz can pinto beans
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
- sliced scallions
- sliced red pepper
- diced carrots (or spirals)
- limes, quartered
- chopped cilantro
- Prepare the vegetables and set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together the sugar, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, sage, and cayenne pepper.
- Start the rice cooking in a rice cooker or on the stovetop, according to package directions.
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Generously salt the chicken on both sides and dredge with the spice mixture, rubbing it in so it sticks. Cook the chicken in the oil for 3-4 minutes on each side until nicely browned.
- Add the carrot, green pepper, red onion, and garlic around the chicken pieces in the sauté pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes or until soft.
- Rinse the beans, and add to the pan around the chicken.
- Whisk together the chicken broth and tomato paste, and pour into sauté pan around the chicken. Stir it around carefully without burying the chicken pieces. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 minutes. Uncover and cook another few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove chicken from the pan, allow to sit for about 5 minutes, and then slice on a diagonal.
- Plate the dish in large individual bowls. First, place a generous helping of rice on the bottom. Then spoon a layer of the bean mixture from the sauté pan over the rice. On top of that, arrange the chicken along with the remaining diced carrots and onions, the diced red peppers, and the lime quarters. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.