I have a few quick weeknight meals to share- perfect for the busy holiday season. I was drawn to this dish because I had several beautiful leeks from my CSA share. I served it with roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the side.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I have saved a million fresh sauce recipes to make someday but, regretfully, seldom make one. The salsa verde added so much to this classic comfort food dish!
Because the original recipe incorporated a lot of rice, I ultimately made a second batch of chicken and sauce to serve with the leftovers. Next time, I would double the chicken (to 3 pounds) and the sauce (2 cups of herbs) from the start. The recipe below is updated for this change.
Yield: Serves 4 (1 1/2 pounds chicken) or 8 (2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken)
For the Chicken & Rice:
- 1 1/2 lbs to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 T unsalted butter, divided
- 2 to 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
- zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear (I used Basmati rice)
- 2 cups chicken stock with 3/4 cups water (or 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth)
For the Salsa Verde: (make 1/2 recipe below for 1 1/2 pounds chicken)
- 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 2 T drained capers
- crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups tender herb leaves (such as parsley, cilantro, basil and/or mint)
- 8 T extra-virgin olive oil
- Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper. (My chicken thighs were very large, so I cut them in half crosswise.)
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (I used a large, low and wide enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
- Add leeks and half of lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and mix to coat leeks in butter. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are somewhat tender, about 5 minutes.
- Remove lid, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to take on color, about 3 minutes.
- Add rice and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes, then add broth, scraping up any browned bits.
- Nestle the chicken thighs (“skin side up”) into rice mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from heat.
- Cut remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter over mixture. Re-cover and let sit 10 minutes.
- While the chicken and rice is resting, make the salsa verde. Pulse anchovies, garlic, capers, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and remaining lemon zest in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Add herbs; process until a paste forms.
- With motor running, gradually stream in oil until loosened to a thick sauce.
- Add half of lemon juice; season salsa verde with salt to taste.
- Drizzle remaining lemon juice over chicken and rice. Serve drizzled with salsa verde.