Baked chicken and rice is one of the ultimate comfort foods, and this recipe is a one-pot wonder. With bone-in chicken thighs and long-grain rice mixed with onions, garlic, and spices, this is a flavorful meal that's big enough for the whole family and fast enough for a weeknight.
The author uses bone-in skinless chicken thighs, which saves a whole step and an extra pan, because there's no reason to start the recipe on the stovetop to render the fat and make the skin extra crispy. These chicken thighs are given a flavorful rub with a mixture of garlic powder, paprika, thyme, and parsley, then arranged on top of uncooked long-grain rice in a large baking dish with onion, garlic, stock, and water. It all goes into the oven, and the chicken and rice cook all at the same time in a single pot. It couldn't be easier.
According to the author, the recipe works best with bone-in chicken thighs, because the chicken stays juicier and cooks in the same amount of time as the rice, so everything is done at once. You could also use drumsticks, in which case it doesn't matter if the skin is on or not, because there's less fat on those than the thighs. Chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs work too, but they'll cook a lot faster than bone-in thighs, so you'll want to cook the rice halfway before adding the chicken.
And if you're feeling adventurous and don't mind using a second pan, you can really make this dish sing by adding the optional garlic butter sautéed mushrooms to the rice at the end.
The one hard-and-fast rule with this recipe is that it must be made with long-grain rice, and that the rice in the middle of the pan must have chicken on top of it in the oven. Shorter rice like risotto or sushi rice won't work out, and if you leave the middle uncovered, you're likely to wind up with raw grains in the center of the dish. But other than that, this is a very forgiving, flexible recipe with 10 minutes of prep time, just over an hour of cooking time, and one pan to clean up when it's all finished.
→ Get the Recipe: Oven Baked Chicken and Rice from Cafe Delites