This one-pot chicken and rice meal is pretty interesting. The cooking process is somewhat similar to making a paella, but the outcomes are totally different. In both, you simmer vegetables, protein, rice, and stock together until everything is cooked. But this chicken meal is distinctly less Spanish and full of more cold-weather comfort. It’s also filled with vitamin-rich vegetables to make you feel really good and healthy.
Start off by browning one chicken hindquarter (thigh and leg) per person in a large, heavy pot with olive oil. Make sure to salt and pepper both sides of the chicken first. Heat the oil over medium heat so that the chicken sizzles. Cook the chicken skin-side down for 10 minutes. Then, turn it over and cook it for another 10 minutes so that both sides are brown. Remove the chicken to a side plate. If you want a faster way to make this meal, just dice up some chicken breasts, brown them in the pot, and them set them aside.
While the chicken is cooking, steam some squash. This is a delicata squash that I got in my vegetable delivery. The website said it was “delicata (sweet potato) squash.” I never heard sweet potatoes referred to as a squash before, but I got them anyway. It turns out, they are not sweet potatoes at all. The squash is just shaped like them.
It also tastes like a cross between sweet potatoes and chestnuts. It’s really delicious. I think it might be my new favorite kind of squash!
Also while the chicken is cooking, chop up 3 cloves of garlic, 1 medium onion, 2 medium carrots, and the stalks from a bunch of swiss chard.
Swiss chard is a dark, leafy green. I got rainbow swiss chard, so each stalk was a different color. It was really beautiful. Rip the leafy parts into pieces and set them aside.
When the chicken comes out of the pot, add in the chopped vegetables. Cook them for about 5 minutes or until the swiss chard stems start to turn translucent. When that’s cooked, add in the swiss chard leaves, the zest from 1 lemon or lime, the steamed squash (minus the skin), and 1.5 cups of basmati rice. Stir everything together and let it cook for 1 minute.
Then, add 2.5 cups of chicken broth to the pot, and bring it to a simmer. Sit the chicken pieces on top with the skin facing up. Cover the pot with a lid, and let everything cook for about 30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is fully cooked. All of the stock should also be absorbed.
Pile the rice and vegetable mixture onto a plate, and top it with a piece of chicken. Squeeze a wedge of lemon or lime over everything. Enjoy your warm, delicious, and nutritious dinner! You’ll also only have 1 pot to clean. Hooray!
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine, Oct. 2011.