Chicken and rice — it’s a family staple, no matter what your family heritage is. It’s simple, inexpensive and nutritious and can serve a family of 10 if need be.
There are several versions of this meal, but I offer you my own today. This recipe calls for saffron threads but, honestly, if you don’t have it, do not buy any. It is quite expensive for the few times you will use it.
I usually do without and the meal turns out just fine, especially when I use bone-in thighs. They have much more flavor, but if you prefer the boneless, that will work, too. I serve my chicken with a side of roasted carrots but you can present any vegetable you like.
• 1/2 cup dry white wine OR low sodium chicken broth
• Pinch of saffron threads
• 6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 6 ounces each)
• Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1 large tomato, chopped
• 1 1/2 cups brown rice
• 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
• 1 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine wine (or broth) and saffron. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or deep iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high.
Add chicken, skin side down; cook until browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more; transfer to a plate.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until translucent, 4 minutes. Add tomato and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until wine is nearly evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in rice, broth and olives. Nestle chicken into rice, skin side up. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
(Candy Work is a certified physician assistant and a registered dietician. She has practiced at Olean Medical Group since 2015.)