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A Double-duty Recipe
5 Feb 2023


3.5 lb. boiled leg/thigh chicken parts

6 – 8 cups cooked white or brown rice, or brown and white mixed*

2 cups frozen peas

½ cup steamed broccoli or cauliflower

1 small, uncooked zucchini, ribbon-shredded

1 large ruby yam, baked, skinned and mashed, adding the applesauce to arrive at something near a puree; four large carrots may be used if preferred

3 hard-boiled eggs

2 cups chopped, steamed or parboiled kale

2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Trim excess fat from chicken prior to boiling with enough water to cover, plus about an inch more, with skin intact. Reserve broth and let it settle in a pot large enough to cook rice. Skim as much fat from broth as possible. Remove skin from chicken and cut chicken into small pieces.  

Reserve 2 cups broth from the large pot to be used later. Cook rice, adding more water to the remaining broth as necessary.

Hard boil, peel and dice or mash the eggs. I use a stainless steel potato masher with square holes, which makes this a one-minute task and allows easy clean-up.

Microwave or stove-top parboil the peas, broccoli and/or cauliflower, and kale, each one separately. If using carrots, cook till tender so that carrots can be mashed; the carrot water may be used to parboil the kale and take a bit of the edge off any bitterness

Combine the rice and the chicken in a large bowl. A 2-cup portion of each at a time, up to 8 cups rice. Fold in the yam or carrot mixture; then the kale, parsley, and peas and eggs, achieving as even a distribution of all ingredients as possible. Add reserved broth as needed to make the process easier.

YIELD: Variable, but usually between 18 and 22 cups. I tend to make the storage portions rather compact. 

FOR THE BEEF VERSION, USE LEAN GROUND BEEF (93% lean;7% fat, if possible). While it’s more expensive, you get more protein and less fat, which lessens or eliminates the step of draining the chopped meat after cooking. Cook the meat thoroughly, being careful not to burn, which is relatively easy to do, given lean ground beef. 

I like to use 8 cups of rice because of the amount of vegetables. I just think it makes a more pliant and palatable end product.

FOR A TURKEY VERSION, use actual turkey meat. DO NOT use ground turkey.

I generally cook 9 cups of dry rice. With the leftover rice, I make my birdie fried rice (typically meatless), to which I also add craisins or domestic, seedless grapes. See recipe at www.premiumpinecones.com. You don’t have to use all the ingredients listed there, but I like the birds to have choices.  Oh, but my birds LOVE SALMON! Several of them like the chicken version, too.

Some people avoid brown rice because of its higher arsenic content (according to the CDC, 154 parts per billion for brown rice vs. 92 ppb for white rice). Arsenic occurs in nature and in minute amounts is necessary for growth and neurological health. It is also an ingredient in deworming products, so I don’t worry much about it. I actually like mixing both brown and white rice.

While the recipe may sound complicated and a lot of trouble, it really isn’t. From start to finish, making two separate batches but doubling up on duplicate ingredients, it takes about 3 hours for approximately 2 weeks of food based on three meals a day, at a fraction of the cost of a commercial rendition of home-cooked.  For Zena, I alternate the chicken and beef meals during the course of the day. She gets a scaled down version of the salmon version when I buy salmon for myself.

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Madeleine Franco