Grandma’s Baked Chicken

20140530-grandmas-chicken
This chicken dish comes from Garrick’s great grandmother. It is very easy to make, very inexpensive, and will make you enjoy chicken thighs whether you usually like them or not. The instructions for this recipe are for 2 servings but I could have easily made 4 servings in this dish.

First, boil water for the white rice and add a couple of tablespoons of margarine at the end until melted. Don’t ask me why it’s margarine instead of butter. When I asked that question I was told, “It just has to be margarine.” The ratio for the rice should be one part rice to about one and three-quarter parts water as opposed to a typical one to two ratio. I usually add just slightly less water than two parts when I make white rice in general but this dish requires less water because of the margarine and the fat from the chicken thighs. I usually use a cup and a half of uncooked rice for two people. While the water is coming to a boil dice half of a yellow onion.

Next, add the uncooked rice, onion, and your water and margarine to your oven safe dish. Add a pinch or two of salt and give the mixture a very brief stir. Simply season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them on top of your dish. The thighs usually mostly float but if they sink a little and the seasoning washes away just season them again about 15 to 20 min. after they have been in the oven and some of the liquid has diminished. Finally, put your dish in an oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes when the skin on the thighs is nice and brown and crispy.

One thing I love about this dish, besides how inexpensive it is, is that you get a top layer of delicious crispy rice. I like to mix the crispy layer of rice with the rest of the rice when I plate. A simple salad, especially with a simple vinaigrette, goes really well with this chicken dish. Lastly, you have to try this dish with the simple preparation I have described above first but there are all sorts of ways you can make it interesting. For example, in the past I have put saffron in the water to be boiled for the rice then added a small amount of cumin seed to the rice mixture before it goes into the oven. As for the chicken, I marinated it in plain yogurt and tandoori seasoning picked up from an Indian market, removed it from the marinade, and baked it as is on top of the rice mixture. The possibilities are endless.

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