You have seen many baked rice dishes before, but this one is the simplest and best I have encountered for sheer ease and success with flavour. Speaking of flavor, you can put your own spin into this dish – add a little bacon or tomato or both, change the herbs – either way, this will be a family favourite!

Ingredients

  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and black pepper, to season
  • olive oil
  • 8 chicken portions (use drums or thighs with bone in/skin on, but not breast meat)
  • 850ml chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • juice of 2 limes or lemon
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place uncooked rice, onion and mushrooms in a large shallow baking tray or roasting dish. Season with salt and pepper and mix together.

Sear chicken in a hot pan with olive oil until just a little coloured (only a few minutes). Arrange chicken over rice.

Heat stock with garlic, citrus juice, thyme and chilli (if using). Pour over chicken and rice mixture. Cook in oven, uncovered, for exactly 1 hour. Do not stir.

Notes:

  • The end result is moist chicken on top of a healthy mushroom risotto.
  • Instead of chilli powder I added 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, but if you had tarragon it would also be super.
  • Depending on the stock you use you may need to season the dish after cooking – but better that way than making it too salty. If you use commercial stock powders and hot water, it may not need much more seasoning, but again it is a question of taste and see!

Wine Match: 2014 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Chardonnay