Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Favorites ~ Hungry Rancher-Woman Chicken

Now we all know that this is not a food blog. You will find no recipes here. I'm an eater, not a cooker, and I'm also a kitchen slob. I would be embarrassed to show you any meals in progress for purposes of gastronomic instruction. But today, I'm making an exception, because it's Friday Favorites and Hungry Rancher-Woman Chicken is my favorite dinner. Some might say it's my only dinner. I make it, or some in-bred cousin of it, several six times a week. And on the seventh day, she ate a salad. How boring is that?

But here's the thing. Hungry Rancher-Woman Chicken works for me on so many levels. It's easy and quick to make. It's satisfying and explodes with flavor. I know exactly where to find the ingredients in the super Walmart. It's a relatively healthy dish, and economical, too. And there are endless variations on the basic recipe theme. And since it's my kitchen and I don't see anybody else around here volunteering to cook for me, I'll do what I dang well please and eat the same dadgum thing night after night if I want to. Maybe I should call it Ornery Rancher-Woman Chicken?

And besides all that, a new recipe/food community site was launched this week by Pioneer Woman called Tasty Kitchen. If you haven't checked it out yet, go forth. It's full of real recipes from real people, and it's all free. Cookbooks? We don't need no stinkin' cookbooks. We can swap our best recipes over there. I want to contribute something to the site, and this will be it.

So without further ado...

Here is everything you'll need: instant rice, frozen orange juice concentrate, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, an apple, and curry powder.

Now this recipe owes its roots to Pioneer Woman. She waxed poetic about the virtues of chicken thighs in her recipe for Linguine with Chicken Thighs. And this recipe is sort of like that one, minus the linguine, the tomatoes, the olive oil, the fresh herbs, and the parmesan cheese.

Make your minute rice first and get that out of the way. Make as much or as little as you want - I won't judge. This recipe will serve one very hungry rancher-woman with a ravenous appetite or two normal people. We'll be serving the chicken over the rice, so the more rice you make, the further this recipe will stretch.

Now it's time to cut up your chicken thighs. My secret to not getting into a violent argument with my chicken thighs is to chop them up while they're partially frozen. If I go at 'em when they're thawed, they're gross and slippery and raw-meat-like and they make me want to be a vegetarian, and then I wouldn't know what to make for dinner.

I cut the block of partially frozen chicken thighs in half, then chop it up into bite-sized pieces. Half of the chicken goes into a ziploc bag for tomorrow's dinner, which will take five fewer minutes to prepare. Yippee! Have I mentioned that this dish can go from zero to the table in about 20 minutes?

Heat your pan on high, then give it a healthy squirt of cooking spray. I always use this Calphalon-wannabe wok, but any old pan should work. When the pan is nice and hot, dump in the chicken and put a lid on it. DO NOT STIR the chicken yet. Let it get brown on one side first, then stir it.

While the chicken is cooking, peel and core an apple, then chop it into bite-sized bits. I use a Granny Smith apple, only because I think I heard that these were good for cooking, but I could be wrong. Use any kind of apple you want.

Back at the pan, your chicken should look sort of like this - brown and cooked. Turn the heat down to medium. The chicken cooks pretty fast and smells really good.

About this time, your dog will come into the kitchen to investigate the aroma and hope that you spill some of the chicken on the floor. Fat chance, Smooch.

When the chicken looks almost fully cooked (should take about 8 minutes or so), dump in the apples, stir things around a bit, and put the lid back on. Reduce the heat to low. The apples will cook pretty fast.

Now we're going to make a little spicy orangey sauce. Mix together one or two tablespoons of orange juice concentrate with some curry powder. How much curry powder? That depends. I love curry powder, so I use about a tablespoon. Less adventurous souls may want to start out with a teaspoon. Add a little water to the mixture so you'll end up with about 3/4 of a cup of sauce.

Are you wondering where I found curry powder for $1.49 in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico? Not at the Walmart, that's for sure. Why are spices so darned expensive anyhow? Anyway, en route to the Walmart, there's a large Mennonite community, and one of the families runs the coolest little market full of bulk baking supplies and spices. And that is where I find curry powder for $1.49.

So now our apples are almost cooked through.

Add the sauce to the pan, stir until all the chicken and apple pieces are coated, leave the heat on low, and put the lid back on.

Put your dog in charge of keeping an eye on things in the kitchen while you go set the table or feed the horses or whatever. This recipe is very forgiving. You can eat it a couple minutes after you add the sauce or an hour later.

When you're ready, spoon the chicken mixture over the rice and take it out to the front porch. This dish tastes best if you eat it while watching your horses graze, your burros play, and the sun set.

Hungry Rancher-Woman's what's for dinner tonight, and tomorrow night, and the next night, and the night after that...

Hungry Rancher-Woman Chicken
Half of a 1.8 lb package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 - 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 - 3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup water
Instant rice

Cook as much rice as you want to eat. Heat a heavy pan over high heat and squirt with cooking spray. Add chicken. Add a little salt and pepper if you're so inclined. Do not stir until one side is brown. Cook until done – about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in apples. Cook for a few more minutes until apples are soft. Combine oj, curry powder and water, then add to pan and stir well. Continue to cook on low for a few more minutes until flavors are combined.

Here's the link to this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen.


  1. Oh my gosh, that looks, and sounds, absolutely delicious, and is SO easy to make! Ha, my kind of meal! The ingredients will be on my Wally World list when I go shopping next week.

    LOVE Smooch checking things out. Thank goodness she's not a drool-er like Wally! YUCK, but he really can't help himself.

    I've been on the Tasty Kitchen site ... so far I've found it very interesting.

    Thanks Rancher-Woman for sharing!

  2. looks pretty good to me and I like stuff like that. will give it a try.

  3. Ok, YUM! I'm going to have to try that, thanks! :-)

  4. That looks like something hubby and I are going to have to try! Okay...I'll go through my recipes and find something to share! It looks yummy, by the way. Hey, I LOVE your kitchen floor! That's just concrete, right? I'm DYING to rip up my 20 year old vinyl floor!

  5. Uh, Yum!
    My dogs are continually under my feet as I cook. I believe they are wishing that I'll fall and spill the food I'm preparing. Maybe tripping me is more their focus?

  6. My kind of recipe! Quick and easy, I never have enough time in the day to actually cook. And it looks delicious too! Thanks for the recipe, I'm definitely going to try it!! Don't you just love how your dogs can look at you like "obviously you have forgotten someone VERY important here!!" :)

  7. super yum! I'm totally going to make this. Love the cutting frozen tip. AHH, why didn't I think of that????

    you amaze me. Share with Smooch, look at that face!

  8. I'm not much of a cooker either, in fact I hate to cook. This looks delicious and easy and quick. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Ya, I hope Smooch got a taste...let'er lick the plate if nothing else!

  10. My kind of cooking. Thanks for being real.

  11. That is hilarious. "Don't need no stinkin' recipe." When I was single, back in ancient times, I too would eat what I darn well pleased. Little piece of steak, spinach salad, bread, lots of butter and pepper...oh, thousand island dressing (homemade). I ate this same dinner so many nights that going to a bar for their appetizers was a big treat. But, heck, I was single. Now, my incredible wife cooks gourmet meals even if all we have are hot dogs and baked beans. Incredible, unrecognizable hot dogs. (I do miss my spinach salads sometimes. But not but once every few years. I love your post.

  12. That looks absolutely delish! Definitely will have to try this one!
    Love how you put Smooch in charge!

  13. Hi Carson: Now that's a simple recipe and I think I could cover that one. I am just a lazy cook. Your stove front is so clean you can see Smooch and her sad reflection in the glass. Maybe you haven't used your stove to date. Great view for a great supper.
    Best always, Sandra

  14. Thanks for the recipe for tomorrow night's dinner! But I am missing essential ingredients, like watching horses & burros graze....

  15. That sounds excellent and has my best ingredient: EASY! I like curry but don't eat it often because I don't have many recipes that use it.

    I'll be trying this one out. LOVE the play-by-play too, btw. Poor Smooch...that is one sad puppy face there.

  16. I saw your recipe over there! put one there too! We need to sign in and be friends :) I am sprucehill.
    This recipe looks really yummy! I am going to try it. My dog Chloe hangs out in the kitchen just like Smooch! I catch her in some of my cooking posts once and a while!

  17. Hummm! Sounds delicious! I will try to do it tomorrow!
    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Oh yummy Linda ... some day I will be a hungry rancher woman and can make this. NO, not waiting...making grocery list now, going to store now, must have this for dinner.

    Maybe Hungry Rancher Woman Wanna Be Dinner?

  19. Might be a dangerous dish for me to make with an Englishman in the house. They LOOOOOVE curry. So, Andy would recommend about of cup of curry powder in the sauce. I'd have to become very, very good friends with your Mennonites.

  20. Just made this tonight and it was a hit! I was a bit skeptical about apples in my curry, but this dish is amazing! Now you've got me thinking up other things to do with this dish, perhaps replace the OJ and apples with yogurt and potatoes, carrots and onion for something a bit more traditional?
    Yum! Thanks!

  21. This sounds great...I love quick and easy! Glad you shared the "no stinkin' recipe" recipe!

  22. Gotta give you the after story on this recipe. I read it to my daughter who said she thought the kids would love it and we should try it. I took the day off from taking care of the house, children etc and went to Sky City, had never been to the top. Upon my return my oldest grand tells me not to eat dinner and hurries away. My daughter is proud of what she has made..her version of your recipe..or as best as she could remember it cuz she didn't have my password to my blogger acct and taa daa.... OMG. She poured the whole can of OJ, 2 Tablespoons of curry and OMG. couldn't eat it...but I laughed inside. "Scary Non cooking city woman chicken" sucks......we're gonna try your recipe for lunch some day, if I can convince the kids that "it ain't poisoned". Thought you'd enjoy the tale of the Oops.

  23. Saw this on Tasty Kitchen last night and made my husband bring home curry powder and frozen OJ just for this purpose. Dinner tonight ROCKED!!!!! Absolutely, positive, AWESOME!!!!!!!!

  24. I love the combination of chicken and apple, but I never tried it with curry powder. Thank you for making photography’s of each step, it’ll certainly be easier for me to try making this meal.