At a price of $1.89 per pound, the package of chicken thighs called out to me from chilly meat isle. "Buy us! We're flavorful and cheap!" How can I pass up such a siren's song? The chicken thigh is such a versatile and often overlooked cut of meat. Many people have an adversion to bones, which immediately rules out anything but a chicken breast as viable poultry protein. For my recovering vegetarian wife, it is too close to Real™ for comfort. That is a problem easy enough to solve; I've become much better at pan roasting the more sensitive cut of meat. This doesn't mean I have forgotten the forelorn thigh. Oh, no. I am most certainly a leg-man.
I obtained this recipe for Chicken and Rice - or a semblance thereof - from the author and cook Mark Bittmann, a New York food columnist and cook book author. I had obtained one of his little green cookbooks, a precursor to "How to Cook Everything" or maybe an early version, which turned out to be a real eye-opener. In the spirit of simplicity, Mark breaks down some of the more complicated dishes into its core components, making it accessible for us average spatula wielders. He then provides variations on the recipie that change the flavor profiles from Asian to Spanish and Italian. I don't have the book any longer, as I had gifted it to a friend before she left for Florida, but I'm getting ready to buy an eBook version of HtCE soon.
Without further delay, the recipe.
Chicken and Rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 pounds chicken thighs
1 cup long-grain rice (or medium, but NOT minute rice)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
While you bring the water to a boil in a tea kettle or sauce pan, saute the onions in the olive oil until soft in a high-walled skillet. Stir in the rice and roast for 2 minutes. Pour in the hot water and bring to a simmer. Trim the skin and fat off the thighs, salt and pepper them, and nestle them into the rice. Cover. Reduce heat to low and walk away. Turn off heat at 30 minutes and let sit for 5 minutes.
This is one of my favorite recipies for its simplicity and flavor. Give it a try.