Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chicken and Rice

I am pretty sure that it is better for the planet to eat plants vs. animals.  Raising animals for human consumption contributes to lots of environmental degradation.  When you talk about large factory farms, it can also mean that you are risking your health.  Michael Pollan, in his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, describes horrific conditions for animals at some large farms.  Even large organic farms don't sound that great, for the animals.  We would intuitively conclude that animals living in unhealthy conditions would be unhealthy themselves, and thus we risk our own health if we consume unhealthy animals.  Also, I heard on the news yesterday that supermarkets sell poultry that is routinely soaked in sodium, leading to high sodium intake for people who consume such poultry.  However, my husband and children love meat, so I cook it regularly.  I never buy beef in the supermarket, because I am concerned about Mad Cow Disease.  I only buy beef that comes from small farms, usually locally, and I rarely, if ever, order beef in a restaurant, unless I know and trust the source of their beef (such as a local farm).  I am lucky to have discovered a small local farm that provides me with most of my beef.  The farmer showed me where the cows live and what they eat, so I trust that I am eating meat from healthy animals.  I have not found an easy source of other local meat products, though in the summer I can buy lamb and chicken from farmers at the farmer's market.  A locally owned grocery store nearby sells chicken from a family farm in Connecticut (where I live), so I usually buy my chicken there.  I'll have to look into whether they soak it in salt water before selling it.  I hope they don't.  If you take these kinds of steps and think about where your meat comes from, you are helping to improve the planet and you are eating food that is better for you.  That is how I define green planet eating.

Serves 4

3 slices Applewood smoked bacon
8 skinless chicken thighs
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
2 2/3 cups water
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups frozen green beans
¼ cup chopped green olives with pimientos
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Fry bacon in dutch oven.  Remove to paper towel to drain.  Add onions to bacon fat and cook until translucent over medium heat, stirring.  Add chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring.  Add chicken thighs to pan, pushing them under the onions, and sear over med-high heat.  Turn after about 3 minutes.  When brown on all sides, add rice and stir to coat.  Add water, cover and bring to boil.  When water is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for a total of about 25 minutes.  Add frozen vegetables and continue to cook, covered, for an additional 25 minutes.  Turn off heat and continue to cook with residual heat for another 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.  Crumble reserved bacon and add to pot.  Stir in olives and cilantro.  Cover and let rest a few minutes before serving.

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