Inner Child Chicken with Rice

chicken with rice

Have you been making this all these years and keeping it from me? Where have I been? Growing up, we hardly ever ate chicken, but occasionally we'd have this--plump chicken nestled in creamy, soft rice, so comforting you'd just want to climb in the pan and stay a child forever. But, alarmingly, I've never made it "for my kids" before tonight.

We're in a retro phase around here. Turns out, meat is easy. Steaks? Throw them in a cast iron skillet with a little butter, turn them after five minutes, and not even the most laboriously layered lasagna can hold a candle. I haven't always felt this way about steaks. Ask my friends--they'll testify to my constantly changing (and loudly pronounced) opinions. I used to say things like, "Steak is so boring. And not even that good. I don't see what the big deal is." Do-over. Big time. I see what the big deal is, and Bob's Quality Meats wraps up a mean tri-tip.

Chicken and rice fits nicely into the retro phase.  Take your BFF Dutch oven down. Brown some boneless, skinless thighs, throw in thinly sliced onions and lots of garlic.  Add rice and chicken stock, cover it, and be Super Mom in 35 minutes.

I'm not one to idealize the past (the days before washing machines and cute maternity clothes? No thanks.), but I could go for a few other retro things. Jerry Seinfeld doesn't use his cell phone in the car anymore. He said, "What's so wrong with 1985?" Indeed. Stirrup pants, Cosby Show, friendship pins, chicken and rice. I am up for that.

Inner Child Chicken with Rice
From Greg Atkinson's West Coast Cooking, which I'm borrowing from my Mom and really like. No photos, but great, straightforward recipes, local ingredients, and interesting narrative. I find I'm often attracted to no-photo cookbooks. Takes the pressure off. He titles this "Mom's Chicken with Rice," and uses 1 c. white wine and 3 c. chicken stock. I didn't have any white wine, so only used chicken stock. Still delicious, but wine wouldn't hurt.

6 large boneless chicken thighs (or 8 small ones)
1 Tb. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups long-grain white rice (like basmati)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 Tb. fresh thyme plus more for top
1 c. white wine
3 c. chicken stock

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the chicken pieces in the oil, turning them several times to brown on all sides, about 7 minutes in all.

Pull the chicken out of the pan and set aside. In the oil, saute the onion until it is soft and slightly browned. Stir in the rie, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme, then pour in the white wine and chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil.

Put the chicken pieces back in the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Simmer until the rice has absorbed the cooking liquid and the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with more fresh thyme.