Chicken and rice are quite the dynamic duo, and there are so many different ways to make the combo. I have landed on a recipe that I think is out-of-this-world delicious, all made in one pot for easy weeknight dinners. Fresh rosemary, thyme, lemon, and garlic give a lot of flavor to the simple, juicy roasted chicken. I’ve also added tomatoes and olives, resulting in some incredibly flavorful rice. Oh man, the rice. I can’t even. On top of all that, it’s The District Table’s first giveaway! Keep reading my friends.
Casseroles are a popular thing, for good reason. They’re easy to make, feed a crowd, and easy to clean up. But they don’t require canned cream of something or tons of dairy to taste good. Flipping through my Wisconsin cookbook I was hard-pressed to find a relatively healthy casserole. So I set out to make one for myself. There is no milk or flour necessary with this recipe, so it’s actually dairy free and gluten free, but bursting with the flavors of lemon and olives and fresh herbs.
Here are some handy tips and tricks to make your chicken and rice casserole A+:
- if you let the chicken marinate longer, your patience will be rewarded
- bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will give more flavor, but if you must use boneless thighs or chicken breasts, don’t brown them as long, they’ll dry out
- brown the chicken in a hot hot pan to get that crispy sear
- Stick to the long grain rice; different rice will have different liquid to rice ratios and baking times
- while you’re waiting for the rice to bake, make your oven do a little more work and roast some veggies at the same time for a side dish
- be warned that you will begin salivating at the amazing smells coming from the oven
- this dinner would go really, really great with a glass of red wine
- (leftovers = still bomb)
Okay let’s cut to the chase, right? What am I giving away for free?? Two things I hate doing in the kitchen is handling raw chicken and the menial task of prepping fresh herbs. Yet here I am with a chicken and herb recipe. The chicken thing, I usually outsource to my husband. But for the herb thing, I have a secret weapon. I happen to love my Mastrad herb scissors so much that I want a lucky reader to have a pair as well (read: unsponsored! just because I like you!).
The scissors make dealing with fresh herbs super duper easy – perfect for once that garden starts growing. They have five blades instead of one, so I guess definitely don’t run with them. I talk more about the scissors in this post from last year as well. They can hang on your refrigerator or go into a drawer for easy storage. So let’s party! The District Table’s first ever giveaway! WOO! (Enter below – here are instructions if you’d like them.)
The giveaway is now closed. The winner is: Tracy S.! Congrats!!
- 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (trimmed of excess fat and skin)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the pan
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup dry long grain rice
- 2 tbsp wild rice (optional, if you have it)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup green olives, pitted and halved
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Toss the chicken thighs with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Marinate for 2 hours, up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large, heavy pan, heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken, skin-side down, for 3-4 minutes until browned, and then flip over and repeat with other side (reserve any of the leftover marinade). Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Use a paper towel to carefully wipe any blackened bits from the pan.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice, the wild rice if using, paprika, salt, and pepper and saute for about 1 minute, stirring regularly. Add the chicken broth and reserved marinade to the pan and bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken thighs among the rice, cover the pan, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then add the tomatoes and olives. Use a spoon to carefully mix them into the rice. Cover and bake for 10 minutes more, then remove the lid and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- If you use boneless, skinless thighs or breasts do not brown them as long in the pan. They will not need as much cooking time as bone-in, skin-on thighs.
- Save on time and roast some veggies for a side dish at the same time that the chicken is baking!