The first time I ate homemade fried rice I was in awe. A college friend whipped it up in her tiny kitchen for a group of hungry youths and I was mesmerized not just because I thought it was difficult to make, but because it tasted so much better than any fried rice I’d encountered in my two decades of life. Granted, I grew up in Vermont; a place probably not best known for its fried rice. But in any case, this college dorm version was far more delicious than the super greasy, overly salty, soy-saucy “Eggroll House” kind.
That particular friend had grown up making fried rice with her mom the way I grew up making buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup with mine. It was in her wheelhouse and it was not in mine. For this reason, I’d never attempted it until now. While recently dog-sitting for a friend, I noticed she had left me a note about some “old rice” she’d left in the fridge specifically for me to make fried rice. I had no choice. It was time to face my fears.
It turns out, we should always face our fears. At least when it comes to cooking. Because this turned out so scrumptious that I regretted waiting so long to make it and decided to blog about it so as not to forget the recipe. I contemplated if it would be okay to make fried rice for dinner two, three, four maybe even five nights in a row as it was all I wanted to think about eating forevermore.
The best part about this recipe: it’s a throw together whatever’s in the fridge, super cheap weeknight meal. Which, in my opinion are always the best kind. Just don’t wait another decade to make it.
Chicken and Bacon Fried Rice
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 5 cloves garlic, (2 minced, 3 crushed)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 8 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup plus 1tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 thick-cut slices applewood smoked bacon, thinly sliced
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Place the chicken thighs in a sealable plastic bag. Using a meat-mallet, pound to 1/2 thickness. Place the crushed garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, a small handful of sliced scallions and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the bag. Seal the bag and give it a shake to coat all of the chicken. Set aside to marinate. Before cooking remove two of the thighs from the bag and cut into 1-inch cubes.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoon oil over hight heat. Season the whole chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper. Using tongs, place them in the hot skillet and cook until dark brown on each side and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
In large cast-iron skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and then add them to the skillet. Using a rubber spatula move the eggs around so they become lightly scrambled. When the eggs are cooked but still a little runny, remove them from the skillet and set aside.
Turn the heat up to high and add the bacon to the pan. When the fat begins to render, add the cubed chicken. onion and carrot. Cook, stirring often for about 4-5 minutes. When the onion begins to soften and become translucent and the chicken is cooked through, turn the heat down to medium and add the minced garlic. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly before adding the cooked rice and remaining sliced scallions. Stir the rice to heat it and coat it with all of the flavors in the pan. Add the egg and stir to incorporate it into the fried rice.
Serve the fried rice alongside the whole chicken thighs.