Chicken Fried Rice

A few days before Christmas I lost my skillet in my one-time stint as a firefighter against a rogue candle. The skillet had led good life of 8 years, 3 apartments and as evidenced by this blog... a healthy bit of use... so it seemed like a worthwhile lifespan for a skillet I bought from Walmart in 2006. Thankfully Santa's elves blessed me with a new one for Christmas and I was really excited to christen it this New Year's Eve with a brand new recipe.

This New Years Eve felt different than recent years past but not in a bad way. I did some quick reflection and realized it was the first NYE in awhile that I have spent by myself**. It's been a mix of snowy locations, easier "home"ish evenings, and one warm trip to Florida ... but this might be one of my favorite. I spent the day gently knocking items off my to-do list, leisurely drank lattes, watched the Cosby Show on Hulu, and went to a candlelit yoga class. On my way home from the yoga class, I picked up a can of Pringles that I commenced eating while I walked past all the people dressed up and carrying housewarming gifts.
Earlier this week I learned that my brother loves chicken fried rice, so I figured that would be an appropriate NYE meal. While I rarely order Chinese food, I feel like its a "thing" most people do around the holidays. I've often heard that Asian food is far easier to make than people expect ... and while I'm not the theory holds true in all cases... it certainly does here. Chicken fried rice is easy folks. Like this will be a new staple in my diet easy. Also! My friend Carrie gave me a rice cooker for Christmas this year (after reading this post) and so I felt crazy liberated and not scared of making rice. Guys, a rice cooker is one of the most amazing things I've ever used. Even if you use it 3 times a year, it is worth it in my opinion. Buy yourself one... yesterday. 

A few notes:
chicken size. While I'm sure it's possible to cut your chicken too small, the smaller the pieces the more bite-sized they will be ... and faster they will cook. Both wins. When you are cutting up the chicken, think little slices.
cold rice. I read a posting that said it was easiest to make chicken fried rice ... with cold rice. While I'm sure that it'd work out either way, if you have the opportunity to make your rice in advance ... seize it. I did and it made the post yoga cooking very quick and easy.
frozen veggies. There is no sense in killing yourself cutting veggies here, so if you have frozen vegetables on hand (or they are on sale) use them. I went with frozen peas and just cut up some baby carrots. Easy peasy.
So here's how it goes.
(Step 1) Heat a large skillet over medium low. Give it a good drizzle of oil and add the onion. Let the onion cook until it begins turning golden brown and translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium to medium-high and add the garlic and chicken to the pan. 
(Step 2) When the chicken is browned add the rice, carrots and peas. Drizzle the oil and soy sauce over the top.
(Step 3) Stir the mixture occasionally. You’re looking for the rice to develop some browning. This will be about 5-10 minutes.

(Step 4) In a small dish, crack and whisk your two eggs. If you were a pro, I'd tell you to try and scramble them in the pan... but let's be real. That seems unnecessarily hard. 

(Step 5) Make a well in the middle of the rice and slowly pour the egg mixture down. Carefully scramble the eggs, taking care to not incorporate the rice into the egg mixture. But honestly, don't stress. It's all going to get mixed up together anyway.
(Step 6) Once the eggs are scrambled give everything a good stir and cook for 5-10 minutes more. I drizzled a little extra sesame oil and soy sauce on top to try and get more crispy chunks ... it worked.
Shopping List (based on this recipe... mostly)

4 cups Rice
1/2 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped carrots 
1 Small Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Sesame Oil
1/4 cup Soy Sauce

** My recollection of past NYE:
2012 - Vermont cross-country skiing, assisted in the making of goat cheese and drank champagne whilst sledding down the driveway 
2011 - North End dinner party in my new apartment
2010 - Vermont cross-country skiing, making snow dogs, and cozy in front of the fire
2009 - Philadelphia with an old boyfriend
2008 - Dinner in the North End of Boston with an old boyfriend
2007 - Dinner in the the Back Bay and then some sort of club in Cambridge
2006 - Captiva Island with family
2005 - First NYE in my Back Bay apartment. I recently found the pictures of this occasion. I've matured gracefully.

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