Chicken and rice is a classic combination, but throw in some Cajun or Creole spice and make it creamy, and then you have a true winner. This stovetop rice casserole has juicy chicken cooked right in tender rice that's fragrant with lots of spices and black pepper. Crowned with a shower of scallions at the end, the dish is ready to be scooped into bowls and enjoyed as a comforting dinner. The leftovers make a great lunch the next day, too.
Creamy Cajun Chicken: Watch the Video
While you can certainly skip the searing of the chicken in the beginning, the browning adds a lot of flavor and an attractive color to the chicken. It also gives some of the spices a chance to toast and add deeper flavors to the casserole. The backbone of this dish relies on the holy trinity: onion, celery, and green bell pepper. When sautéed, they deliver that recognizable and distinctive Southern flavor with associate with food from Louisiana.
Cajun and Creole Seasoning
Instead of needing a large number of spices, pick up some Cajun or Creole seasoning. This spice blend can contain paprika, garlic, black pepper, cayenne, and sometimes oregano and thyme, and is an easy way to add spicing without a lot of measuring.
The one thing to be careful about is the salt level, which can vary between brands. I recommend tasting the liquid the rice is cooked in and adjusting seasoning as needed before the final simmering of the rice to make sure everything is tasting just the way you like it.
One-Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken & Rice
Serves 4 to 6
boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons
Cajun or Creole seasoning, divided
medium yellow onion, diced
medium celery stalks, diced (about 2/3 cup)
medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups
long-grain white rice
garlic, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups
whole or 2% milk
low-sodium chicken broth or water
medium scallions, thinly sliced
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, toss the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the seasoning. Add the chicken to the pot in a single layer and cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. (Chicken will not be cooked through at this point.)
Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the rice, garlic, salt, black pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is starting to toast and smell fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the milk and broth or water and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot, stir to combine, and bring back to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the scallions, and let sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.