Looking for a deeply comforting chicken and rice dish, with a Cajun flare?
This dish has always been a favorite at our house. There’s a little Cajun spice to give it some ‘kick’ but combined with the perfect sticky rice…it’s so flavorful and packed with that Southern Cajun taste. And it all comes together in less than an hour!
HOW TO MAKE CAJUN CHICKEN AND RICE
There are several components that make this dish so extremely flavorful. It starts with fresh ingredients, and then an amazing roux, nicely seasoned chicken, and perfectly prepared rice.
We’ll take you through all the steps, and get ready for your house to smell amazing!
Fresh veggies are a must. We love fresh poblanos, jalapenos, celery, onions, and tomatoes. NOTE: To reduce the heat in this dish, be sure to remove all the seed from inside the peppers, and the ribs as well.
Dark chicken meat is so flavorful and is our go-to protein for this classic Cajun dish.
Seasoning the meat before sauteing locks in incredible flavor.
Cajun Chicken and Rice is exploding with flavor, and this picture helps to explain why!
HOW TO MAKE AN AMBER ROUX
Cajun dishes, such as Gumbo, always start with a dark roux.
Melt the butter and add the flour, and then stir until a deep golden color exists.
Some gumbo recipes call for a dark roux, but for this dish, we’ll go with between a medium and a dark roux. Read more about the beauty of a roux here.
Next, it’s time to simmer to blend together all the amazing flavors.
You’re not going to believe the smell in your house.
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT STICKY RICE
Sticky rice is classic in Cajun cooking.
It’s a simple process that we cover in the recipe card.
This can be made while the chicken is simmering.
Folks, it’s time to have the best Cajun Chicken and Rice you’ll ever eat or serve.
It’s so good! Go for it!
Cajun Chicken and Rice
FOR THE SPICE RUB
- 1 & ½ tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper use 1 teaspoon for less heat
- 2 tsp chili powder Ancho or New Mexico is good
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
FOR THE STEW
- 8 boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 1 small poblano chile seeded and diced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 5 plum tomatoes chopped
- 2 cups canned tomatoes, juice included crushed, or whole, that you crush with your hands
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 fresh bay leaves or 2 dried
- 1 tsp hot sauce ie, Tobasco, Crystals, or our favorite: Louisiana
FOR THE STEAMED RICE
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 & 1/2 cups water
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Pinch Kosher salt
- Scallions diced
MAKE THE CAJUN CHICKEN
- Whisk together the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl.
- Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, and add the rub mixture. Use your hands to evenly coat, and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot, or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke a little.
- Meanwhile, toss the chicken with the flour to coat.
- Shaking off the excess flour from the chicken, transfer the pieces to the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Do this in two batches, so you don't overcrowd the pan - the chicken should be in one layer, and not on top of each other.
- Reserve the leftover flour (you need about 1/4 cup...add more flour if needed).
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the oil in the pan (you should have 1/4 cup...add more if needed).
- Add the remaining flour to the oil, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes to create a medium-brown, peanut butter-colored roux.
- Add the onion, celery, poblano, and garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken, tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaves, and hot sauce.
- Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a light gravy and the chicken is very tender.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve over Perfectly Steamed Rice with chopped scallions as garnish (recipe below)
MAKE THE STEAMED RICE
- Combine the rice, water, bay leaves, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid, cool for a few minutes, and then fluff the rice with a fork.