Chicken with Rice and Peas

It’s always fun to try a new recipe, no matter if it’s quick and easy or labor-intensive. Perhaps the most interesting part of the experience is wondering if the dish will taste good. My biggest fear is that my family or guests won’t like it.

There are some recipes, though, that take away all the guesswork. Those are the ones that can’t possibly turn out badly. They contain ingredients that just about everyone likes. When I see a recipe like this, it’s immediately put on the proverbial front burner. My favorites are those one-skillet meals.

The following recipe fits all those prerequisites. It’s quick, tasty and is prepared in one pan.

I tweaked the recipe a bit because of the ingredients we had on hand. Instead of chicken, I used pheasant and Hungarian partridge breasts, as well as 2 cups of leftover brown/wild rice (for the long-grain variety). With no white wine or vermouth and chicken broth, I substituted red wine and wild game broth. And yellow onions had to suffice.

The results were spectacular. I can’t imagine the dish being any tastier with the called-for ingredients.

Chicken with Rice and Peas
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
Pinch red pepper flakes
1½ cups long-grain rice
½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
4½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
5 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour to coat and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken well on one side, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Turn off the heat, add the butter to the skillet, and swirl to melt. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and return to medium-high heat until softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice thoroughly and let toast for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the wine (or vermouth) and let the rice absorb it completely, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken into the rice, browned side facing up, including any accumulated juices. Cover and cook over medium heat until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Gently brush off and discard any rice clinging to the chicken, then tent the chicken with foil and set aside. Return the skillet of rice to medium-low heat, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 8 to 12 minutes longer.
Turn off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and lemon juice to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken and lemon wedges.