On the menu: One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard
I’ve got a new routine. And I am clinging like hell to it.
Here’s how it goes: I plan all our meals for the week on Saturday morning, then we go to the grocery store. That way, I don’t have to worry about what we’re going to eat during the week, when my routine turns into the following: get to school by 9:15 am. Try to stay on task all day; usually fail miserably. Go to the gym around 3, get home by 4:30. Cook dinner. Desperately attempt to do homework. Repeat. I had a meeting in Massachusetts this last Saturday, and on Sunday, as I tried to put together a grocery list, my world fell apart. It was Sunday; I wasn’t supposed to be planning our meals, I was supposed to be on the couch watching TV. Or, you know, reading some papers for school. No, not that. I don’t do work on Sundays. After literally throwing myself on the bed and crying it out, I came back to reality and we got our food for the week. How juvenile, right?
School is exhausting. I discovered fledgling love handles after the holidays, so I hauled myself back to the gym ASAP. Working out is exhausting. Cooking dinner most nights so the guy can work is exhausting. But there are so many rewards from all this effort that I keep pressing on. The meeting I went to over the weekend was related to my research project, and I learned so much about the scale and scope of the project that three days later, my brain is still constantly buzzing about it. It blew my mind. It’d be nice to not have little love handles anymore, you know? And dinners have been great lately–we’re trying all kinds of new things, and I’m cooking through recipes I’ve held onto for months.
Like this one. I was enamored by the swiftness and simplicity of this recipe. One pot, all the fixings: a meat, a carbohydrate, and some vegetables. I was craving the comforting cooking I grew up with, but I wanted something more suited to my adult tastes. This fit the bill. Chock full of my favorite green, Swiss chard, with the added benefit of toothsome carrots and chard stems, I knew this would be a winner. Cooking the chicken first over high heat makes the skin shatteringly crisp, and to save that skin, I finished the chicken in the oven, not in the steamy heat of the simmering rice and vegetables as the original recipe instructed. It might not be one pot anymore, but it was worth it!
Back to the routine.
(almost) One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard
adapted from Everyday Food
4 chicken thighs, patted dry
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut into 1/2-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups white rice (use what you have on hand; we used jasmine)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned on both sides, 12 minutes, turning once. With tongs, transfer chicken to a small dish and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. A meat thermometer should read at least 165°F at it’s thickest point.
Meanwhile, reduce heat in the Dutch oven to medium and add garlic, chard stems, onion, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chard stems and onion are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add chard leaves, lemon zest, and rice; cook 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a rapid simmer. Reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on top of rice mixture and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve.