Monday 27 January 2020

Recipe ~ Creamed Lemon Herb Chicken Rice Bake

As is often the case, this recipe came about because I needed to use up stuff before it went bad, and my search for a recipe didn't yield the results I wanted. 

 As always, if you just want the recipe, without the story behind it, scroll down or go to the AllRecipes Link for it. And if you make it (or someone else makes it and you eat it), PLEASE leave a review there too!

 This time, I had a lot of extra thyme on my hands, from the necessary pruning of my herb garden, a couple lemons that were beginning to get elderly, an abundance of carrots (3+lbs!), and a nice bunch of kale that was in danger of being squished too much in an overly full produce crisper drawer. 
So, it was time to start getting creative. Some kind of lemon thyme chicken and rice was obvious to me, so I started looking on the net. 

There are lots of recipes out there for lemon thyme chicken, and it's pretty popular and is definitely tasty, but wasn't quite what I was looking for. I wanted something more hearty, that would be an entire meal, and didn't need a ton of steps. I was also kind of craving a creamy sort of dish, and knew I wanted the carb base to be rice. 
Most of the recipes I found that were even close to what I was thinking called for a ton of extra steps and extra pans that were, IMO, unnecessary. Also, pre-cooking the chicken and onions in extra oil, just to put them in a pan that already has oil? Why? More time, less healthy. Just no!

So, that is how this dish was born! 
It is perfect for when you will be home, but have other things to do, cause you can do a few minutes of work and then just leave it to do its thing with minimal checking and no stirring, turning, basting, etc. 
It's also great for tossing in small amounts of whatever veggies you have on hand, but not really enough for a dish on their own. 

You do need to make the marinade and put the chicken in it at least a couple hours in advance, but if you just put the chicken straight from the freezer into the marinade the day or 2 before, you will be marinating it whilst it thaws, so more efficient and easier. 

Here are a couple photos of the marinade mixture all ready for the chicken to be added. 

I like easy! Don't you?

Don't forget to save the bones for free, delicious, homemade chicken broth!

Creamed Lemon Herb Chicken Rice Bake
    •  6-8 or so chicken thighs w/skin and bones (you can do skinless/boneless, but it will be less flavourful and more dry)
    • Marinade
        • 1/4 Cup olive oil
        • 1/3 cup lemon juice
        • 2-3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
        • 1 med-lg sliced onion
        • 5+ cloves minced garlic
        • 2-4 sprigs thyme
        • 1-2 sprigs rosemary
        • 2 Tbsp or so oregano
        • 1 Tbsp onion powder
        • sm-med lemon sliced
        • Black pepper to taste (I use about 1 Tbsp)
    • 2 cups uncooked rice
    • 4-5 cups chicken broth or water
    • 1 can French onion soup*
    • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup*
    • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
    • 1 large or 2-3 med/small carrots, sliced or chopped (optional)
    • A handful or so kale, roughly chopped (optional)
    • Whatever veggies you have on hand and need/want to use
*(You can omit the soups, and use extra chicken, beef, or veg broth, and add a cup of milk and a couple Tbsp flour)

Earlier in the day or up to 2 days prior
    • Combine marinade ingredients in a Ziploc type bag. Tear the herbs into smaller pieces and rub/bruise them between your fingers as you drop them into the bag.
    • Squish everything around in the bag, rubbing bag sides together, until everything is well combined and onions are kind of soft.
    • Add chicken to bag and squish around more until all chicken is well coated
    • Squeeze all excess air from bag and store in the fridge at least an hour or so, preferably overnight, up to 2 days, turning the bag over once or twice a day to marinate evenly.
Day of:
    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
    • Remove chicken from bag and set aside (or just be careful when dumping marinade stuff)
    • Combine rice, veggies, soups, water/broth, and half the marinade mixture (including solids) in a cast iron Dutch oven or greased casserole dish.
    • Stir well, until everything is evenly distributed.
    • Dump chicken and remaining bag contents on top of rice mixture.
    • Arrange chicken, lemon, and onion pieces evenly across the top.
    • Season chicken with salt, pepper, or other seasonings (I use Montreal steak seasoning) to taste.
    • Bake for an hour or so (until rice is tender and chicken internal temp is 175°F**).
**(Yes, the chicken is SAFE to consume when cooked to 165°F, but thigh meat should be cooked to 175-180°F in order to dissolve the connective tissue, resulting in more tender, juicy chicken. Science! It works.)

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