When I want to cook a meal that the whole family will eat, this chicken and rice dish is what I make. It has some of my favorite things in it, despite its simplicity. Fresh herbs, citrus, and that perfectly cooked bite of chewy rice. The recipe comes from an old New York Times column from years ago. I didn’t make a ton of changes to it, but revised it to reflect my own tastes. It really is the best chicken and rice you’ll ever make, and best of all, the ingredients are staples you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. Easy to double and feed a crowd. Nice to bring to a potluck or to friends needing a meal. You can add or subtract more chicken or rice depending on your preference. You could sub out the parsley for cilantro. And, of course, the recipe is naturally gluten-free and nut-free. My kind of meal.
The recipe is very simple:
- 2 cups of chicken broth plus 1 cup of water
- Olive oil (just a drizzle)
- 1 large white onion, sliced½
- 2 large chicken breasts, cubed (1-1.5 pounds)
- 1 ½ cups of basmati or jasmine rice (I use jasmine)
- Fresh parsley
- The juice from 1/2 or 1 lemon (depending on your tastes; I usually squeeze half a lemon on first, and then take a bite)
- salt and pepper
The first step is to combine the chicken broth and water into one sauce pot. Bring it to a boil on the stove, and let it hang out on a low boil while you do the other steps. It is important to have boiling broth/water for this dish to help everything cook properly in the last step.
Next, drizzle olive oil into a large pot or deeper pan (one that you can fit a lid onto later) and start heating the oil up on medium heat. Slice the white onions, and place them in the warmed olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
While the onions soften in the pot, cut the 2 chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes. When the onions have softened but are not browned, add the dry rice. Stir the rice into the oil and onions until the grains are covered with oil. Then, add the chicken cubes (no need to really stir, just plop them in there). Add more salt and pepper to season the chicken.
The next step is to carefully pour your pot of boiling broth and water directly into the pot of chicken and rice. It makes a lot of steam when you add the liquid to the chicken and rice so make sure you don’t have your face directly over the pan! Then, turn the heat down to medium-low, and put the lid over the pot. Set your timer for 20 minutes. I usually check in on the dish at 15 minutes and give it a stir to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan.
After the chicken dish has cooked for 20 minutes with the lid on, take it off the heat. This is what the deliciousness looks like in the end (a little plain without its parsley!):
The last step is to add your lemon juice and a good handful of chopped parsley. I always taste this at the end to make sure it has enough lemon taste, enough parsley taste, and enough salt. Deliciousness + an easy clean up!