This one-pot chicken and rice meal was cooked with brown rice. White will work too but it has to be a long-grain variety. Otherwise, the grains will clump together. It has to do with the starchiness. Generally, the length of the rice grain is inversely proportional to its starchiness in combination with the ratio between water and rice. So, unless I’m making a rice pudding or a rice cake, I stick with long-grain.
As the title says, only one pot was used to cook this dish. There are, however, three stages in the cooking this one-pot chicken and rice meal. The first is browning the chicken. The second is cooking the flavor base. The third is simmering everything together.
Why brown the chicken? For better texture, color and flavor. Browning meat allows the natural sugar in it to caramelize and that is a delicious thing.
What’s the flavor base? Mirapoix which consists of equal amounts of chopped onion, carrot and celery.
If using brown rice, it’s best to soak before cooking.
Was the rice cooked in water? Yes, because I used bone-in chicken pieces. Had I used fillets, I’d have cooked the rice in chicken broth. The richest flavor is in the bones. If there are no bones, water won’t do at all.
How much water or broth? That depends on the variety of rice you’re using. Some need more liquid to cook in.
Does the pan need to be covered? Loosely or tightly? Yes, covered. Very tightly. The trick is to cook with the least amount of liquid and losing any of that in the form of steam escaping between the pan and the cover is not a good thing.
One-pot Chicken and Rice Meal
- 1/2 kilogram kilo of chicken thighs (bone-in)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup rice
- Rub the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan.
- Add the chicken to the hot oil, skin side down. Cook over high heat until the skins are browned. Flip and brown the opposite side. Scoop out and transfer to a plate.
- To the oil in the pan (a combination of olive oil, butter and rendered chicken fat by this time), add the celery, carrot and onion. Cook over medium heat until softened.
- Add the garlic, oregano, thyme and butter. Cook for another minute.
- Add the rice. Stir. Pour in water (or broth). Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the browned chicken pieces on top of the rice.
- Cover the pan very tightly. Set the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.