I can’t help it. I always roast a bunch of garlic at once to have on hand to cook with for a couple of weeks (and to spread on bread)! In this recipe, the roasted garlic transforms the chicken and rice into a delicious comfort food! I’m telling you: every bite will melt in your mouth.
I find it a bit cumbersome to eat chicken with the bones still in. And since I try to be health conscious, I generally don’t eat chicken skin. However, I almost always cook chicken on-the-bone, with the skin on! Preparing it this way produces the best, most succulent chicken ever! I use the skin as a holding place for the roasted garlic and herbs — it keeps it all of those amazing flavors in place as they marinate and baste the chicken while it cooks. Then, I will usually remove the skin and pull the meat off the bones to serve. And possibly even more bizarre: I absolutely love to eat barbecued chicken on the bone! I know, I know, I’m consistently inconsistent.
While I love how the chicken becomes completely saturated with the wonderful garlic flavor — inside and out — I think my favorite part of this dish are those candy-like, roasted garlic cloves that I quickly pan fry. They go on top, inviting you to dig in. And so do those crispy bits of rice that stick to the sides of the pan! Yum!
If you’re looking for a word to describe this recipe, please use “succulent.” It truly describes every bite!
Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: about 45 minutes
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
1/2 cup roasted garlic (here’s how to make it!)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 whole cut up chicken – skin on, bone in (about 4-pounds)
1 bunch fresh thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pour the chicken stock into a medium-sized sauce pot, season it with salt and bring it to a boil. Add the rice, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. (It will finish cooking in the oven later.)
While the rice is cooking, use a fork to combine 1/4 cup of the roasted garlic with the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin of each piece of chicken and evenly distribute the garlic mixture beneath it. Then, season all of the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.
After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, pour it, along with the stock into a 12-inch round baking dish (or a 9x13x2-inch rectangular dish), and let it cool to room temperature. Then, place the chicken pieces directly on top of this. Add sprigs of thyme all over the dish — in the chicken skin, in the rice, and on top. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven just until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil cover after the first 30 minutes of the cooking time — this way it will nicely brown during the last 15 minutes. The rice and chicken should be done at the same time — if the rice needs a bit more time, remove the chicken, re-cover the rice, and cook until it’s done. Season the rice generously with salt and pepper.
While the chicken is in the oven, add the remaining roasted garlic to a small sauté pan with a bit of olive oil, over medium-high heat. Sauté to brown the garlic, about 1 minute. (If possible, use a head of roasted garlic that’s still intact and remove the individual cloves with a paring knife to keep them whole.)
I highly recommend having roasted garlic on hand at all times!