Picardy Rice

Picardy Rice, a tasty mixture of rice, chicken, tomatoes, bacon and vegetables, may be served as a meal in itself. Serve with a light red wine.

4-6 SERVINGS

4 streaky bacon slices, diced

1 oz. butter shallots, finely chopped

2 small green peppers, white pith removed, seeded and cut into julienne strips 2 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt -½ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoon dried thyme }( teaspoon dried oregano

12 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

1 pint chicken stock, boiling

1 lb. lean cooked chicken, cut into strips

In a medium-sized flameproof casserole, fry the bacon over moderate heat for 5 minutes or until it is crisp and has rendered most of its fat. Scrape the bottom of the casserole frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent the bacon from sticking.

With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the casserole and drain it on kitchen paper towels. Set aside.

Add the butter to the casserole. When the foam subsides, add the shallots and green peppers and fry, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallots are soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and oregano. Add the rice and stir well to thoroughly coat the grains. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the chicken and simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender and has absorbed the cooking liquid/

Remove the casserole from the heat and spoon the rice mixture into a large warmed serving dish. Sprinkle over the fried bacon and serve immediately.

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