This easy Persian-inspired chicken and rice dish has a beautiful golden color and a wonderful fragrance. If you have saffron in the cupboard, do add that optional pinch; just a little will enhance the flavor and aroma of the dish.
4 cups cooked brown rice, preferably basmati or jasmine
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
1 lemon, sliced (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two 8-inch-square baking dishes or foil pans with cooking spray (see Tip).
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken thighs, and cook, turning once, until both sides are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs. Pour off all but about 1 Tbsp. fat from the pan.
Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and onions to the pan and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until soft and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, turmeric, paprika, and saffron, if using; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer the onions to a plate and set aside.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add cabbage. Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, lemon juice, the remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and half of the reserved onion. Continue cooking until the rice is well coated and heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Divide the rice mixture between the prepared baking dishes; nestle 4 of the reserved chicken thighs in each dish. Top each with half of the remaining cooked onions. Cover both dishes with foil. Label one and freeze for up to 1 month.
Bake the remaining casserole, covered, for 30 minutes.
Uncover and continue baking until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F and the onions are starting to brown around the edges, 5 to 10 minutes more. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices, if desired.
Tip: Instead of freezing half, you can bake the full recipe in a 9x13-inch baking pan. In Step 6, bake, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.
To make ahead: This double-batch recipe makes one meal for tonight and one to freeze for up to 1 month (see Step 5). To cook from frozen: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed in Steps 6-7, adding an additional 10 minutes baking time once uncovered.
Equipment: Two 8-inch-square baking dishes or foil pans
274 calories;10 g fat(2 g sat); 3 g fiber; 29 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 28 mcg folate; 50 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 203 IU vitamin A; 16 mg vitamin C; 39 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 194 mg sodium; 307 mg potassium
I was kind of disappointed with this one. First of all it had quite a few steps involved so it's something that you would want to do when you have time. That wouldn't matter if the end result was fantastic, and the end result was not awful but there was definitely something missing. Not sure if I would make this again.