Chicken with Rice and Mushrooms (Kura s Ryžou a Hubami)

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My inspiration for this dish came during a reception at the Slovak Embassy in Washington D.C. on the occasion of a visit of Slovakia’s Interior Minister, Dr. Daniel Lipšic. The embassy chef, Michal S., made a delicious concoction of rice, chicken and mushrooms, along with his usual fare of tasty cabbage halušky, strapačky. I had some chicken at home so I figured I should try to recreate his creation. I think I came pretty close.

Ingredients: 1lb chicken breast, 1 large onion, 1 packet (4oz) mushrooms, rice, oil, paprika, crushed red pepper
Prep Time: 45 minutes

The ingredients: chicken breast, mushrooms, oil, paprika, rice, crushed red pepper, and onion. I used shiitake mushrooms just to try something different. In Slovakia, we love mushrooms (you’ll even find on them on Christmas trees)! Unfortunately, here in the US you are pretty much limited to the white button mushrooms and their older sibling, portabellas. Shiitake are the only other variety available in my grocery store, so I figured I’ll use, for a bit of variety.

how to cook rice how to slice onion
Start by cooking the rice. Bring 2 cups of salted water to boil. Also add a tablespoon of oil or butter into the water. Then add one cup rice, reduce the heat, and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes. Cube the chicken, slice the mushrooms, and dice the onion. To cut the onion, first peel it and slice off the top and bottom ends. Then cut it in half. Next slice it in direction parallel to the end cuts. Assemble the slices together and then slice them in the perpendicular direction. This method is quick and takes advantage of the natural orientation of the layers.

browning chicken mushrooms and onions
Heat up two tablespoons of oil in a pot and add the chicken. Fry it on all sides until no pink meat remains. Then carefully spoon the chicken out onto a plate. Add the onion and mushrooms into the pot and fry, stirring, until the onion turns golden.

chicken in a pot chicken in a pot with mushrooms
Add the chicken back into the pot, and add 3 cups of water. Also add a tablespoon of paprika and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. The paprika will give the stew nice brown color.

stewing chicken chicken and sauce
Cover and stew for about 20 minutes (until the chicken and the mushrooms are done). If you want, you can serve the dish like this. This is actually how it was served at the embassy, I think. But I decided to go one step further and blend the onion stew for sauce. To do this, first take out the meat and the mushrooms. This is bit tricky, the easiest way is to remove the pieces using a spatula, and then return onions that also got scooped out back into the pot using your hands once the meat cools off a bit.

blending onion mushroom sauce thickening sauce with cornstarch
Next transfer the onion stew into a blender and blend for few minutes. Transfer back into the pot and add two heaping tablespoons of cornstarch (or flour).

mushroom sauce
Bring to boil and stir to dissolve the starch. Add the chicken and mushrooms back into the sauce to let them warm up. Serve with rice – fluff up the rice with fork before serving. And that’s it. It may not look like it, but this is a super easy and fast recipe for a tasty dinner. Dobrú chuť!

Slovak interior minister Daniel Lipsic at Slovak Embassy Slovak embassy reception
And here are few photos from the reception. On the left, in the middle, is the minister with a couple of Slovak students attending the Georgetown University summer program thanks to a scholarship from Friends of Slovakia, along with my friend Martina. Martina (in white) is from my hometown of Banská Bystrica, and Veronika, the student all the way to the left in gray, is from Zvolen, the town right next door. And the second picture is of me and my girlfriend, Sandra. Sandra is from Colombia and this September will be her first trip to Slovakia.