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Savor flavor of bronzed chicken breasts, rice and spinach pilaf

Despite being thought of as the father of blackened redfish, chef Paul Prudhomme recommends "bronzing" meat rather that blackening to avoid the smoke while still achieving an excellent result.

Use the Cajun spice mixture given in the recipe or use 1 tablespoon prepared Cajun spice seasoning mix.

The Rice and Spinach Pilaf recipe is easy to make and takes less than 20 minutes to cook. You can use microwavable rice instead and stir the spinach into the rice as soon as the rice is cooked. The spinach will wilt in the heat of the cooked rice.

This meal contains 456 calories per serving with 23 percent of calories from fat.

Wine suggestion: This dish, which is spicy flavorful though not spicy hot, would be wonderful with a rich, white viognier.

Tips

Bring the chicken breasts to room temperature before cooking. This gives a more even and juicier result.

• An electric frying pan can be used instead of a skillet. Keep the temperature at 350 degrees.

Cajun spice mixes can be found in the spice section of the supermarket.

Shopping list

• Buy: ¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 small bottle low-salt tomato juice and 1 package washed, ready-to-eat spinach.

• Staples: olive oil, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, dried thyme, long-grain white rice, salt and black peppercorns.

DO YOU HAVE A RECIPE you'd like to share? Send it to Patti Ewald at pewald@tampabay.com. Please include your name, city of residence and phone number.

. MODERATE

Bronzed Chicken Breasts

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons olive oil

Pound chicken breasts flat to about ½ to ¾ inch thick with a mallet-type utensil. Mix cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano and thyme together (or substitute all with 1 tablespoon store-bought Cajun seasoning). Spoon half onto one side of the chicken breasts, pressing it into the flesh. Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat and add oil. When it is very hot, add the chicken breasts, seasoned side down. Spread remaining spice mixture on top side of chicken. Cook until the underside is bronze in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Cook second side 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. A meat thermometer should read 170 degrees.

Makes 2 servings.

. EASY

Rice and Spinach Pilaf

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ cup long-grain white rice

1 cup low-salt tomato juice

1 cup water

2 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add rice and saute 1 minute. Add tomato juice and water. Bring to a simmer, lower heat, cover and gently simmer 15 minutes. If pan becomes dry, add a little more water. Stir in the spinach. It will wilt in the heat of the rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 servings.

Savor flavor of bronzed chicken breasts, rice and spinach pilaf 03/26/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 12:36pm]
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