Sometimes I feel like my husband cringes if I mention any kind of chicken and rice combination yet again. I’m of two sides on this. On the one hand, yes, I want to find new recipes and ideas to try in the kitchen, so I feel his unwillingness for my standard go-to recipes sometimes, I really do. On the other hand, man am I stressed out lately and by lately I mean the last two or more months. I need something quick and easy, and usually chicken and rice isn’t too difficult. So I feel sometimes he should get over it, too. Heh! Because chicken and rice is back on the menu, folks, and this version is OMG good.
Now, I don’t mean to say hubby acts like an ingrate, or that he complains all the time about what I choose to cook, it’s just that we all get tired of hearing it’s such and such for dinner…again! I get that, I really do. And trust me when I say that this chicken and rice dinner really is different. It was for us, anyway, and deliciously so!
Oh, and I do apologize for that really ugly carrot above. Just…let’s peel that off and…yup, we’re good.
The recipe calls for chicken leg quarters, and we love to grill those, but when I make recipes like this, I prefer just the thigh piece. And I prefer it without the skin. I don’t mind bone-in, but these little guys are really fatty with the skin on, and I didn’t want this to be a greasy dinner. I’ve learned my lesson plenty over the years with skin on thighs – they just aren’t the way to go for most recipes using them.
Make sure you season them liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. There is very little seasoning in this recipe, and a lot of the overall flavor is going to come from well-seasoned chicken.
A few other flavor boosters are as pictured here: carrots, onion and lemon zest. If you’re wondering if you really need to add the lemon zest, well, maybe not….but it definitely adds to the pleasing flavor. So I’m putting it in. Every time.
The recipe says you can substitute spinach for the swiss chard. I’ve made the recipe twice now, once with the red chard above and once with spinach. I definitely liked the chard version more, but either way will give you great results. In a pinch, I’ll use the spinach, but if I had my way, it would always be chard.
Another thing the recipe suggests is to substitute the basmati rice if necessary, but this is one ingredient I felt the dish would not do as well without. Basmati rice has a distinctive flavor that really adds to it all. I’d say substitute it if for whatever reason if you just can’t stand it, but, and this is coming from a person that usually passes over special rice and uses what I’ve already got – the basmati rice is absolutely phenomenal here.
After browning the chicken very well (there should be some nice browned, peppery bits left at the bottom of the pot – this is where the flavor starts!), the veggies get their turn.
We actually threw in about a quarter cup of dry white wine at this point with the rice and stirred for about a minute, until the wine had mostly evaporated. It’s optional, but I did it the second time I made it as well and feel it too lent well to the overall flavor.
At this point, some chicken broth gets added in as well as the chicken once again to cook for only about twenty to twenty-five minutes. The hardest work is probably preparing the chicken if you have to remove the skin. It’s all been pretty darn easy so far!
Things like this are why Smell-o-Vision should be invented. Time to dig on in!
This isn’t like any other chicken and rice meal I’ve made before. It’s surprisingly flavorful given the lack of any kind of flashy herbs or seasonings. We’ve just got some salt, pepper, lemon zest and whatever flavor the chicken and veggies bring. It’s a killer combination. We absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that the two times I’ve made this were both on the same day. Sis Blogging Partner took our initial run with the recipe to our parents for their dinner that day and later, for dinner with my family, I made it again. It’s just that good!
One-Pot Chicken & Rice with Swiss Chard
from Everyday Food, September 2011 via MarthaStewart.com
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: about 45 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4
- 4 chicken leg quarters (about 2 pounds total), patted dry
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch Swiss chard (10 ounces), stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small yellow onion, diced small
- 2 medium carrots, diced medium
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus wedges for serving
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned on both sides, 6 minutes per side, turning once. With tongs, transfer chicken to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, chard stems, onion, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard stems and onion are translucent, 4 minutes. Add chard leaves, lemon zest, and rice; cook 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a rapid simmer. Reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on top of rice mixture and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through and liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Use chicken leg quarters, just thighs, just legs, whatever appeals to you. Spinach is a good substitute for the chard, but I personally preferred the chard after trying it both ways. The basmati rice is a must! It gets to an almost pasta-like texture when cooked.
If you want to add a little wine as we did, add it in with the rest of the veggies and rice and stir it around for that one minute with them. Add the broth after as directed and proceed with the rest of the instructions.