The name of the game with any one-pot dish is ease: principally the ease of preparation combined with the beautiful simplicity of a single baking tray from which to serve, without skimping on taste.
Chicken Casserole or Oven Baked Chicken
First off, note that this recipe for oven baked rice can be adapted to a stove pot. This is ideal for those either lacking an oven at home, or with a preference for a more hands-on approach.
Indeed, when preparing one-pot recipes, some chefs like to be able to check up on the cooking process, taste the recipe as it evolves, and add seasoning if they deem necessary.
All this is easier in a one-pot casserole recipe, whereas once a baking preparation is in the oven, it’s pretty much “one and done”. You’ll be left with the possibility of adding salt or seasoning only at the very end. Depending on what kind of a chef you are, choose your technique accordingly.
For now, we will move forward with a chicken and rice recipe made for the oven, the result of which should be ready-to-serve without further additions or tweaks.
Which chicken pieces should I use?
Concerning the chicken anatomy, most chefs will recommend using chicken legs or even drumsticks in most chicken recipes. Why? Because of their fat content which tends to bring more flavour to the dish. These pieces are also juicier and dry up less than chicken breasts, but in a one-pot recipe, this issue is almost irrelevant.
The chicken will be cooked basking in a jacuzzi of rice and herbs, so if you prefer the higher-protein, lower-fat alternative of white meat, go for skinless chicken thighs or a skinless chicken breast. We guarantee that the amazing flavour and aromas will be just as good as with the bonier, fattier options.
Our healthy chicken and rice recipe is quick and easy, with so little fuss that you’ll want to prepare it again and again. Who knows, once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to add your own variations and ingredients for future recipes.
What type of rice should I use?
For the purpose of an oven-bake recipe, you’ll need a type of rice that has a great capacity to stay warm for long periods, and not too starchy to avoid becoming too lumpy or sticky. What we’re aiming for is creamy, succulent, and brimming with flavour.
Our recommendations are fragrant basmati rice, ever-practical extra long premium basmati rice or high-in-fibre brown basmati rice. If you wish to use basmati, be aware of the specific flavour profile of this type of rice, how it will impart its aromas to the dish, and adapt the recipe accordingly. Discover how to make risotto.
As for cooking rice in the oven, it’s all a question of proportions. As long as you put the right amount of liquid to the rice, along with the correct cooking time, it will come out perfectly every time.
For an added layer of flavour, the home chef may swap out water for broth. Depending on your preferences, it could be a vegetable, chicken, or any other kind of broth. Furthermore, once the basics of this chicken and rice recipe have been learned, you can try using more umami flavours such as miso soup.
Vegetables and Extras
This quick and easy chicken and rice dinner aims to be as simple as possible. No further addition of vegetables is required, which only adds to your prep time. However, for further variations on this amazing one-dish meal, and to keep recipes from becoming too repetitive, we can recommend vegetables or mushrooms.
Why not try grated carrots, for a splash of colour and vitamin A, or some chopped green beans that will cook along with the rice. If you’re using cream of mushrooms in this recipe, thin slices of fresh mushrooms are also a welcome addition.
- 2 cups/500 mL Dainty Basmati Rice, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups/750 mL Water
- 1 large Onion – chopped
- 1 teaspoon Butter or Olive Oil (optional: see side box)
- 2 teaspoons of Salt
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 4 Large Skin-on Chicken Thighs – or roughly 500 g (2 lb.) of the cut of your choice
- 2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme
- 1 clove of Garlic – finely minced
- Freshly chopped Parsley, for garnish
- Optional: 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup). If using, reduce the amount of water to 2 cups.
- Set your oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Place the rice, onion, garlic, thyme and seasoning into a baking dish (roughly 30 cm in diameter if circular, or 20 x 30 cm if rectangular).
- Bring the water to a boil, and pour over the rice, ensuring the rice is well distributed.
- Stir in the 2 cans of the soup of your choice (optional).
- Cover the baking tray with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The chicken peeking above the rice should be nice and golden. If you opted for cuts with the skin on, it should be crispy.
- Once removed from the oven, do not uncover the dish for a few minutes.
- Before serving, fluff up the rice with a fork, and if needed, season to taste.
- Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Note: Rinsing and soaking Dainty rice is not necessary as it is already cleaned. To learn more, read on our rice encyclopedia.
(Side box) Optional: if you’re not afraid of one extra step, we recommend you coat the rice in butter or oil before boiling (rice pilaf). For this, over medium heat, just stir the rice to the oil in a warm pan for a minute or two. This will help keep the individual grains of rice separate in the final dish.
The joy and magic of this dish is that it needs no side dishes. It is a complete meal in and of itself. Obviously, feel free to serve with salad or steamed vegetables, for a nicely contrasting and colourful plate. It has to be said that it is one of our favourite chicken rice meal ideas. Visit our recipes section regularly for more great ideas. Bon appetit!