Healthy Mexican lime and coriander chicken with brown rice one pot meal


I've tried to return back to our low sat fat & low GI healthy diet without causing too much shock to the system. The system of course is used to non-stop grazing between hearty, regular and frequent meals. The first day in the office after holidays my stomach was growling by 9.30am. So was everyone else's. And we'd all thought everyone would bring a lot of Christmas leftover chocolates to the office, so no one actually did. I had eaten my measly lunchbox lunch by 10 am and had to go out and buy a sandwich at 12.

Healthy Mexican lime and coriander chicken with brown rice one pot meal
Not very pretty, but delicious. 

Healthy Mexican lime and coriander chicken with brown rice one pot meal
This was my first version of the dish, with camargue and brown rice. Very good too.

We didn't go completely crazy over Christmas, but there was definitely some cream and cheese and salty snacks. Chocolates were hidden and strictly rationed. Husband agreed and actually initiated this rationing, I'm not a complete despot.

But funnily enough he has seemed to find most of my hiding places. One evening he asked all innocent for a couple of chocolates., I went to one of my hiding places and found an empty bowl. The second one was a large box which had been more than half-full, now only with a couple pieces left. The third one he hadn't found. There's lots of Ferrero Rocher and Green and Blacks in that one. He seemed quite excited by this piece of news. Probably shouldn't have told him.

It is all my fault, a chocolate loving friend of mine told me. Husband clearly has no self-control which is why he asked for my help, and I should have hidden it better than behind the pasta in the cupboard. "Cupboard, really? Cupboard?", cried my friend in scandalised tones. Apparently cupboard is not a real hiding place, I thought out of sight out of mind kind of thing, but clearly not for these addicts. So next time it's the toilet tank, some I'll sow in the lining of my winter coat and the rest maybe hide up the chimney.

Last weekend was the final watershed between Christmas and normal life with my company's annual January Xmas party on Friday giving us the wonderful excuse for a little hangover gourmandising on Saturday. It was a very good night with a lovely three course meal, fun company and lots of drink. Our heads can't have been the sorest judging by the amount of baby guinesses (which of course are not guiness for anyone who doesn't know) and jaeger bombs that were had. We steered clear of the most risky drinks apart from one sneaky tequila shot with an unlikely Johnny Cash impersonator from Accounts Payable.

We stayed over in the Oxfordshire country house hotel and drove back after a full English breakfast to spend the rest of the day on the sofas watching bad TV. A hangover usually requires something stodgy to accompany the bad TV. Most of the time we eat at the table like normal people, but on these occasions you have to let go and just not tell your parents. Mine probably wouldn't understand it anyway. What do you mean? Eat in front of the TV? Where would you put your plate, pray?

So I made a lovely seafood pasta with squid and prawns. It wasn't really that unhealthy as hangover foods go, but included a healthy (=unhealthy) showering of parmesan and a generous dollop of creme fraiche. And we had a lot of it followed by some of my hidden chocolates and a bowl of salted nuts. I keep buying them for the kids and then we eat them. I blame the kids.

So on Sunday, new healthy life. This healthy Mexican inspired zingy and tasty chicken and brown rice one pot dish was my easy Sunday afternoon meal and it was absolutely delicious. These kinds of chicken one pot meals usually are, but this was a new creation. Husband loved it. "Oh, this is good", he exclaimed, "you haven't made me chicken for ages "(it had been 6 days actually). "You know I like chicken", he finished in a mixture of accusation and appreciation.

This is a really healthy meal, low on fat and made with brown rice, I had brown and red camarque, but when I did it againg this weekend, I used brown only. Feel free to add as much fresh coriander as you like, the dish literally screams for it, but husband can't stand it, so I left it out apart from a little garnish and had my own stash on hand.

My own little spice box with extra coriander and chilli, grown by a friend in her garden in Kingston.

Healthy Mexican lime and coriander chicken with brown rice one pot meal (serves 4)

For the chicken:
1kg chicken thighs or thighs and drumsticks with bone in and skin on
2 tsp ground dried garlic
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin
zest and juice of a lime
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
black pepper

For the rice:
Vegetable oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalopeno pepper, minced (or any other pepper you like, more if you like it hot)
1 red or green bell pepper
2 cups of brown rice (or camarque or a mix)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
zest and juice of a small lime
1 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 tomatoes, chopped or a small can (220g) of chopped tomatoes
1 low salt chicken stock cube
2 1/2 cups of water
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Mix all the chicken marinade ingredients and rub all over the chicken pieces. Leave to marinade in a plastic bag for 30 minutes in room temperature or a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large lidded ovenproof pan. Add the onion and saute on low heat until they start to soften. Add the garlic and peppers and continue sauteing for another few minutes. Add the rice and keep cooking for about  five minutes stirring continuously. Add the spices and the zest and juice of a lime, tomato paste and tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and check and adjust the seasoning of the broth.

Add the chicken pieces on top of the rice and stock mix and pour any remaining marinade on top of the chicken pieces. Cover and place in the oven. Cook covered for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, add water if the rice looks too dry. Cook for another 10-15 minutes uncovered until the chicken is browned on top and cooked through. If your chicken pieces are large you might need a bit more time in the oven.

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