When I was growing up my mother made a braised chicken dish she called Chicken and Spanish Rice. The skin-on chicken pieces were first browned in oil, the rest of the dish was put together and then the masterpiece was oven-baked in a deep, tightly-covered Dutch oven. Man, was it ever good! The smell drove us wild while it was cooking. I was thinking about that today and wondering what to do for dinner with 3 pieces of pork loin I had leftover. BINGO! Why not Pork and Spanish Rice? Turns out that was a GREAT decision. This came out fantastic! I don’t know why, as this wasn’t in Mom’s original dish, but using cauli-rice in this, I thought it might need something extra……….so I added some Monterrey Jack shredded cheese on the top. Although not offensive on this, it truly didn’t add a thing and I will not do so in future (not calculated in the nutritional stats below either. This new recipe for pork was so good it WILL have a future in my kitchen. 🙂 This recipe is suitable for Atkins Induction, Keto diets, Primal and Paleo as well. 🙂 VARIATION: Make it with skin on chicken rather than pork. After heating the oil, brown the chicken over high heat on all sides. Set on platter while you cook the rest of the ingredients in the skillet/Dutch oven. Construct the meat/veggie mixture, stir in the cauli-rice and lay the chicken pieces on the surface evenly. Tightly cover and bake about 45 minutes or until chicken is fully done. The “rice” (even when I made it with real rice) is very soft in this method of preparation. Just so you know what to expect.
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1 lb. cauliflower, riced by hand or processor
3/4 tsp. cumin
2 T. olive oil + 2 T. chicken fat or finely diced chicken skin (or 1/4 c. olive oil)
3 oz. onion, chopped coarsely
4 oz. green bell pepper, chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. cooked pork loin or chops, cubed
Dash each chili powder, salt, black pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican oregano leaves if you have them)
1 can tomatoes, drained and chopped coarsely (or 3 fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced)
Dash saffron threads (I used 5 threads)
2 T. cilantro, chopped (optional)
***Note: If you don’t save chicken fat when you make homemade chicken broth (rises to top when chilled) I would highly recommend when skinning chicken pieces for recipes, freeze that skin in a plastic bag to mince fine and render it for the fat. It adds so much flavor to recipes like this one or my Lebanese Baked Chicken recipe ;). That is precisely why I have never bought skinned chicken parts, not in my entire life, and I won’t go into how old I am. 🙂 The skin takes just seconds to pull of the meat and freeze in a plastic bag and you’ll be so glad you saved it on down the road. 🙂
DIRECTIONS: Dry roast the cumin in a dry skillet over medium heat until it smells toasty but is not burned. Remove and set aside. Rice the cauliflower either with a hand box grater or in a food processor. I like to do the stems first and a little extra before ricing the flowerettes. Set aside for now. Preheat oven to 350º. In a large skillet or dutch oven (One in photo is a 14″ skillet) heat the oil and chicken fat. Add the meat and slightly brown it on the surfaces. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Saute to partially tenderize. Add roasted cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano and saffron threads. Stir in the tomatoes. Add the cilantro last, if using. Stir well. Turn off heat. Add the cauli-rice into the pot and stir to mix it evenly into the meat mixture. Cover the casserole pan or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Pop into 350º oven for 35-40 minutes and allow flavors to blend. Pairs nicely with a lovely guacamole salad.
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 6 servings, each contains:
14.4 g fat 8.61 g carbs, 2.93 g fiber, 5.68 g NET CARBS
18.6 g protein
166 mg sodium