A very wise person once said, when life hands you lemons, make Greek lemon chicken and rice. Umm. Okay, that was me who said it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t wise.
Greeks eat a lot of chicken. And rice. And lemon. In all sorts of ways. There’s the classic lemon oregano chicken roasted the oven with potatoes or rice. And of course everyone knows the egg lemon chicken and rice soup, avgolemono. Let’s not forget the lemon and tomato braised chicken with rice, kokkinisto. And while all of them are scrumptious in their own special way, almost all of them take some time to prepare. Roasting a whole chicken takes at least an hour to hour and half depending on the size of your chicken. You will have to boil that chicken for an hour to get the broth that makes your egg lemon and rice soup. And on top of that there is the precarious dance of tempering your eggs appropriately to thicken the soup. Who has time for that Monday thru Friday?
But I love chicken, lemons and rice, you say?
Okay, I’ve got you. Here is the easiest, on the planet greek lemon chicken and rice dish. Ever. I promise you will be eating in 40 minutes. And most of that time you will be sitting pretty and “waiting” or browsing the internet. Up to you. But mostly you will be waiting for the chicken to marinade and waiting for the rice to bake.
What? baked rice? Oh yes. I can’t explain what magic happens in the oven, but this method makes rice that is both creamy and light and fluffy all at the same time. There is no better way. Trust me.
Let’s do this!
Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice – Serves 2-4
For the chicken:
4-6 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
For the rice:
1 cup of rice
1/2 onion finely diced
1 tablespoon thyme
2 & 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup green beans cut in half
salt & pepper
Here’s how it’s going to go down. While you are marinating the chicken, your rice is baking in the oven at the same time. That’s how you save time. Now wink your eyes and crinkle your nose I Dream of Jeannie style.
In a bowl, mix the juice of your lemon, crushed garlic, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Add your chicken to this marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes. Don’t even bother putting it back in the fridge. Your chicken will come to room temperature and be ready to cook.
In the meantime, in a casserole dish add the rice, diced onions, thyme and 2 & 1/2 cups of chicken stock, salt & pepper. Cover with foil and place in a 350F oven for 30 minutes.
Wait. Or browse the internet. Read a book. Phone a friend. Do lunges down the hallway. Just kidding. Not really. Okay kidding.
After 30 minutes, uncover the rice and add 1/2 cup of green beans (frozen or fresh) and let the mixture finish in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Next, heat up a cast iron pan and cook your chicken thighs that have been marinating. This should also take about 10 minutes. See how the rice and chicken all cook at the same time? Easy isn’t it? High five.
Remove the rice from the oven and place your finished chicken thighs on top. In the cast iron pan, splash a little chicken stock and a squeeze of lemon juice to deglaze the pan. Top the chicken and rice with your pan sauce. Serve.
Enjoy. Now what are you going to do with all of that extra time?