Stewed Chicken and Rice
This dish is rich and clean, but still lively and interesting — all things to all tastes — in one single pot. We brown and then braise the chicken, toast and grind the rice before steaming, “chicharron” the skin, parbake the meatballs, julienne the lemon peel, thinly slice the shallots and, at the very end, soften tender spinach in the hot broth. It’s deeply satisfying, the workhorse of family meals.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2cups jasmine rice
- Olive oil
- 2tablespoons butter
- 1small onion, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 3quarts chicken stock
- 6boneless chicken thighs
- Grapeseed or canola oil
- Chicken meatballs (see recipe)
- 1bunch spinach, trimmed, washed and dried
- Chicken-skin garnish (see recipe)
Step 1Add plain rice (not rinsed) to a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat, and dry-roast, stirring slowly and continuously until the rice turns golden and becomes quite fragrant, about 15 minutes.
Step 2Remove the rice from the heat, and let cool. Once it is cool, add the rice to a food processor, and pulse repeatedly until the rice breaks up into smaller kernels.
Step 3In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter until melted. Sweat the minced onion in the mixed fats until translucent and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4Add the ground, toasted rice to the pot, and stir so that the onion coats the rice. Add in chicken stock to cover, and heat, stirring frequently until the rice is cooked through. You may need to add more chicken stock during the cooking process, but you want the finished product to be sticky, rather than soupy, rice.
Step 5While your rice is cooking, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a slick of grapeseed or canola oil in a Dutch oven, and sear the chicken, skin side down, until the skin is golden brown.
Step 6Remove the chicken from the pot, and pour off any excess fat. Return the chicken to the pot, and just cover with chicken stock. The chicken should peek out from the stock — like (as my wife says) crocodiles at the surface of a swamp.
Step 7Cover the pot with a tightfitting lid, and braise over low-medium heat until the thighs are tender, about 35 minutes.
Step 8Stir rice into the pot with the chicken and chicken stock until heated through. Add the meatballs until heated through.
Step 9Fold in spinach, until just wilted. Season to taste.
Step 10Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish, with the crispy-chicken-skin condiment.