If you are looking for comfort food that won’t make you feel like you’re in a coma, this Lemony Chicken & Rice recipe is for you!
This dish is super easy to make. It’s become a staple dinner dish in my household. Every Sunday, I ask my husband what he wants to eat for the week so I can prep and every Sunday, he will say, “that lemony chicken dish with rice.”
My favorite thing about this dish is that it tastes even better the next day (If you know me, you know that besides pizza & spaghetti, I hate leftovers)! I’ll usually make this at night so Kaykay can bring it to lunch the next day. Additionally, like most dishes I cook, this is effortless and even Hellen Keller can make this.
The most annoying thing about this dish is that it requires marinating the chicken. It can easily be solved by prepping it the night before or the morning of cooking! It also requires 2 pans, but it can easily be 1 pan if you’re an expert cast iron skillet cooker (I’ll expand on this later in the directions).
Let’s get cooking.
LEMONY CHICKEN & RICE
Chicken & Marinade
- 4-5 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in*
- 2 medium lemons (you will need all the zest + 4 tablespoons of juice)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (use the pre-minced garlic jar to save time)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Olive oil, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, divided
- 1 small onion, finely diced (yellow or red works)
- 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked (jasmine rice is my favorite)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Parsley or oregano, garnish, optional
- Handheld citrus juicer
- Cast iron skillet, at least an 8-inch one*
- Regular non-stick skillet, optional
- Zest your lemons with a microplane and squeeze the juice. Combine the lemon zest & juice with ALL of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag (or bowl) and set aside in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, but no longer than 24 hours.
- After the chicken has marinated, preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, BUT reserve the marinade.
- Heat about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin-side down first, until golden brown (takes about 3-4 minutes on each side) and remove from heat. The chicken will be raw. This is fine for now.
- While the chicken is browning, heat up your cast iron skillet in medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add diced onions and cook for 2 minutes, then add the rice, chicken broth/stock, water, dried oregano, salt & pepper, and the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 seconds.
- If you want to only use 1 pan, use the cast iron skillet to cook the chicken too. After browning the chicken on both sides, you will need to set aside the chicken in a bowl/plate. Pour off the fat and wipe out the skillet roughly with a paper towel, then follow step #5 normally on the cast iron skillet (yes you will still need to add the olive oil since you wiped off the old oil).
- Place the browned chicken on top of the rice (it will be partially submerged), then loosely cover the skillet with foil and bake for 40 – 45 minutes*.
- After baking, take the skillet out of the oven and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Garnish with parsley or oregano if you want.
- When buying chicken thighs at the grocery store, I usually opt for the pasture raised, organic chicken thighs. The goal is to buy the smallest, most natural looking pieces as possible. You can really tell the difference in smell, quality, and how it cooks.
- I have an 8-inch cast iron skillet and when I make this dish, I’m very careful when pouring the liquids and placing the chicken on top before putting in the oven because it might splash on me. If you’re using a 10 or 12 inch skillet, you shouldn’t have this problem.
- We have Face Recognition smart phones, but we still can’t get ovens right. Each oven is different – some run hotter and some run colder. Make sure you check the doneness of your chicken when you take it out the oven. Run a knife through the underside of the thigh and make sure the juices run clear. If not, put it back in the oven for a little bit more until fully cooked. If using a food thermometer, measuring to 165 F is a good sign that it’s done.