It’s One Pot Wednesday!…today’s fast, easy, one-pot meal idea is: Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Rice.
Zesty Lemon chicken and creamy rice with asparagus, mushrooms and a hint of rosemary. The best part of it all… it comes together in one pot in roughly 30 min. How easy is that?!
Food is an interesting thing. We need it for fuel, but it’s so much more. It’s social, it what we’ve built traditions around (i.e. Holidays) , it’s cultural…I could go on and on. Food also has the ability to connect us to past times or to events . Remember your childhood? What foods do you get nostalgic about? One of my co-workers had a “Bit- o- honey” the other day…which made me immediately think of trick or treating and the stuffed pillowcases (who needs fancy pumpkin pails?) we brought home filled with goodies.
Lemons are another food that I have a strong association with and a connection to a particular place. Lemons for me will always transport me back to Italy.
I was fortunate to call Italy home for a summer. A really hot summer! In fact, it was a record heat-wave. Our home base for a few months was Florence (to date, my favorite city). If you’ve been to Italy in the summer then you know that most of the big cities “shut down” for the month of August, when the Italians take their holidays and flee to the coast for some sea breeze and relaxation. Following suit, we made our way to the Amalfi coast. A series of towns perched along steep cliffs that spill down to the seaside. Beautiful villas and quaint houses line the cobble stone streets and lemon groves seem to cling to cliffs where you would think it was not possible to grow anything. The sun was bright and hot. The lemons were the size of softballs. The scent in the air …was pure heaven.
It was there, on our way to Sorrento, that I had my first Lemon Granita, and my love of lemons began. A line was forming in the piazza in front of a little cart with a striped umbrella. We had no idea what they were selling but with a line that long we knew we needed to find out. What we did know was that it was something icy and served in a small dish, which sounded very refreshing on a 100F + degree day, especially after a long hot train ride. Enter the Lemon Granita….which is basically sweetened lemon juice that is frozen and then the ice is scraped to form ice flakes. A bit like a snowcone, or snow ball. The lemons in Italy are out of this world! And, it’s to this little piazza that I am still transported every time I smell a lemon. Blue skies, + sea air + hot sun,+ striped umbrellas,+ cold sweetened lemon ice = forever etched into my memory Italy and LEMONS.
Today’s featured One Pot meal Tuscan lemon chicken with rice is a dish your whole family will love. You’ll love that it’s super easy to prepare and clean-up is a breeze.
Start by heating up some olive oil in a large skillet and browning the chicken on all sides.
Cook the mushrooms
Cook shallots and garlic, and then add rice, chicken stock and mushrooms ( and a little vino!) . Arrange the chicken pieces over the rice and add asparagus and lemon slices. Cook for 15- 20min. until rice is tender and the chicken is fully cooked.
One final squeeze of lemon over the cooked chicken and rice and you’re ready for dinner.
- 1½ lb. chicken legs or thighs, skin on ( you can use skinless if desired, chicken wont be as crispy browned)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8 oz. cremini Mushrooms, sliced
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic ( 3 cloves)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¼ cup white wine (optional, substitute water or chicken stock if not using)
- 1 ½ cups short grain white rice (like Arborio)
- 10-12 stalks Aparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves ( or parsley)
- 1 Lemon
- Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to skillet and cook until well browned and pieces release easy from the pan (approx.5-6 min.). Turn chicken over and repeat until all sides are browned. Chicken will be seared but not cooked at this point. Remove from skillet, set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms and cook until browned on both sides (you may need to add a little more olive oil) Remove from skillet, set aside.
- While chicken is cooking, cut Asparagus stalks into 1 inch pieces. Cut ½ of a lemon into thin slices. Set aside.
- Add shallots to skillet and cook until soft (2-3 min.) Add garlic and cook until aromatic (about 1 min). Add rice and chicken stock, and wine (if using); bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that rice is just gently simmering. Stir in mushrooms.
- Arrange chicken, lemon slices, asparagus and rosemary on top of rice. Cover the skillet and cook undisturbed for 15-20 min. You want the liquid to be fully absorbed, the rice tender and the chicken fully cooked. If necessary add additional chicken stock (or water) to the rice and continue cooking if chicken is not fully cooked (155-165F with a thermometer). Squeeze the juice of remaining ½ lemon over the chicken and rice; serve on individual plates or a serving platter.