Miss Craighead County Rice shares recipe and farm knowledge

Gracye Cureton has rice farming in her family tree

Miss Craighead County Rice shares recipe and farm knowledge
(Source: Miss Craighead County Rice Gracye Cureton)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Westside senior Gracye Cureton is not afraid to talk about the family business that has been a part of her world ever since she can remember.

“I am from a seventh generation of a rice-farming family,” Cureton said. “I am so proud of what we do. Farming is becoming increasingly hard just because of the economy and the tariffs going on. But we love what we do and we’re going to try to do it as long as we can.”

Cureton will be extolling the importance of rice farming as part of her appearances at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair this year. September is National Rice Month. This is the time Arkansas rice farmers are recognized for their dedication to helping feed the world. Cureton was crowned Miss Craighead County Rice after a competition.

“I had to write an essay. I had to have a really good recipe,” Cureton said. “An essay. Recommendations. It’s not really a pageant. Most people think it is a pageant. But it is more of a competition about your recipe and how involved you are in the community and how much you know about rice.”

Cureton said she also had to have a good rice recipe to compete. “You can’t go wrong with chicken and rice. I put my own spin on it,” Cureton said. “There’s like Rotel in it. A lot of different variation that you could use. You could use rotisserie chicken from Walmart or Minute Rice to make in the pot, so.” Here’s her winning recipe:

Cache River Spicy Chicken and Rice


3 c. cooked rice

2 tablespoons oil

1-2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins

Cayenne pepper to sprinkle on chicken

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies

½ medium yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves

1/3 c. Chicken broth

1 ½ c. heavy cream

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon oregano

1 c. shredded Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese

1. Cook rice accordingly.

2. In large saucepan, heat oil, sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, add to pan. Cook until chicken is done, chop and set aside.

3. Add a small amount of oil (if needed) to same saucepan and raise to medium-high heat. Add diced onion, can of diced tomatoes and green chilies and the 2 cloves of garlic. Saute until onions are tender.

4. Add chicken broth and stir, simmer for five minutes.

5. Lower heat to medium; add heavy cream and spices, mix well.

6. Add chicken to sauce, mix well. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes.

7. Stir in rice and ½ cup of the cheese, mix until melted.

8. Put into baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Notes: Substitute 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for tenderloins. Substitute frozen diced onions to save time. Put diced tomatoes and green chilies in blender to create a smoother consistency.

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