There is something about a one pot dinner that is so sexy. Opening that heavy lid of your cast iron pot and seeing chicken parts surrounded by short grain rice, vegetables and aromatics all housed under one roof is so satisfying. But you know what I HATE??? Recipes that make you sauté your chicken parts first. Browning your pieces first, making a mess with the oil, then removing them from the pan, only to put them back later.
In this recipe I have come up with a smarter way to get your chicken pieces slightly cooked and browned before you put it into your large pot. My cleaner method is to take your chicken parts and put them on a sheet tray and bake them at a high temperature for 15 minutes.
The flavors in this dish are very classically French. The garlic, onion, carrot, celery and fresh thyme.
4 pcs. chicken bottoms (drumsticks and thighs attached)
1 potato, peeled and cut into 6 or 8
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped small
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups brown rice (I prefer short grain)
3 cups chicken broth
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees or 425 degrees convection.
Take your chicken parts and your peeled potato and place them on a sheet tray. Sprinkle them with 1/4 teaspoon of your salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of your oil. Using a gloved hand massage the oil and the spices into the skin of the chicken and onto the potato. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, take a large covered cast iron pot (a dutch oven like a Le Crueset) and put the flame on medium low and let your pot heat up. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté your onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes with your remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add your garlic and saute 1 extra minute. Add your rice and chicken broth and stir. When your chicken has finished cooking, add all of the chicken pieces (skin side up), potato and any juices from the pan. Add your thyme sprigs to the pot. Cover the pot and reduce the flame to low. Simmer on the stove for about 3 hours. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed. The rice should look like a starchy risotto.
Optional: If you are particular about a crispy skin then quickly put on your broiler and put the pot in the oven for a total of 4 minutes to crisp up the skin. Out of the 8 times that I have made this recently I have done this once.
This chicken can be made the day before serving (without broiling) and reheated by putting in a 350 degree oven covered for 30 minutes and broiling for 4 minutes at the very end (if possible).