My son had been using A Year At The Table recipes to cook dinner for his girlfriend once a week. It was fun for me as he would take a picture of what he’d made and text it to me. When I stopped getting his weekly picture I asked him what was up. He said he was frustrated with the cooking process and was temporarily taking a break. Doing the shopping, organizing the right equipment and doing the actual cooking can be overwhelming, he says. Can’t there be a simpler way?
I promised him I would develop a recipe template that he can use over and over, reminding him that like anything, the more you cook the same recipe the better you get at it and it just becomes part of a routine. So here is 45-Minute Rosemary Garlic Chicken. The concept is simple, dinner in one skillet using only six ingredients, not counting salt, pepper and oil. Using the basic cooking techniques of browning, seasoning, adding a liquid and simmering.
He can make this recipe once a week keeping the template of the chicken, rice and liquid the same and change the seasonings. He needs to know the liquid to rice ratio should stay the same so the rice turns out the right texture and not be under done or mushy. And that heating the oil in the skillet before adding the chicken is necessary for good browning and flavor. But for the seasonings for example, fresh ginger and curry powder could be substituted for the garlic and rosemary for a Thai/Indian style or chopped fresh jalapenos and chile powder for a Mexican style (see the variations in the note below the recipe). Seasoning changes like these will not alter whether the chicken is browned or the rice is cooked correctly but just the overall flavor of the recipe.
Armed with the knowledge of how the ingredients work together and the basic cooking techniques, the possibilities of variations for this all in one dinner recipe are pretty much wide open. He could make this recipe once a week and it will become second nature to him – buying the groceries, prepping and then cooking it.
I’m pretty sure this is the simpler way he was looking for. Stay tuned…
- 1 medium Onion
- 4-6 chicken thighs or 4 chicken breasts (with bone and skin on)
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground back pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 6 medium garlic cloves (peeled and lightly crushed)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 cup white Basmati rice
- 1¾ cups chicken broth (14.5 ounce can) or water
- Remove stem ends from onion and cut in half widthwise; remove outer peel. Thinly slice onion, there should be about 2 cups.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large (10-12 inch) skillet over medium high heat; skin side down, add chicken and cook until browned about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and brown the other side, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Pour excess fat from skillet, keeping 1 to 2 tablespoons; add onions and cook and stir until softened and browned, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute, then add rosemary and rice and pour in chicken broth and stir. Skin side up, add browned chicken to rice and broth, pushing chicken into rice and stirring broth and rice around chicken. Bring broth to a simmer; cover and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through, rice is tender and broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Mexican-Style variation: Omit the garlic and rosemary. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers and 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder, adding them along with the chicken broth.