Whether you’ve been busy or cozied up to a fire during the holidays, here’s an omnivore’s dish that just might work for you. It cooks in a single pot and manages to provide warmth and brightness in every bite. If you have leftover roast turkey or chicken, skip the fresh poultry steps. Pull apart the meat with your fingers – a mixture of dark and white meat, preferably – then toss it in after the yogurt has been added.
Serve with a green salad.
Chicken and Rice in Lemon Zest Yogurt
Adapted from “One-Pot Wonders,” by Clifford A. Wright (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).
1 medium onion
1 large clove garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds (skinless)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup long-grain rice such as basmati
3 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1 cup frozen peas
CUT onion in half, then into very thin half-moons (or cut into 1/2-inch pieces; your choice). Mince garlic; those ingredients can be piled together. Cut off and discard all large pieces of fat from chicken thighs, then cut meat into large chunks. Finely grate zest from lemons.
HEAT oil in a Dutch oven or wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once oil shimmers, add onion and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion has softened.
ADD chicken, almonds and turmeric, stirring to coat; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until chicken has lost its raw look. Use tongs to transfer the pieces to a plate.
STIR in water and rice; cook (at a boil) until water has evaporated. While you are stirring, you’ll want to scrape/dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add yogurt, stirring until well blended.
WHISK together egg white, cornstarch and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a measuring cup, then stir into the pot, moving in only one direction (clockwise, for example). Increase heat to high; cook for 2 minutes, stirring in that one direction, to keep yogurt from breaking. Reduce heat to medium, then return chicken to pot along with any collected juices; cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes or until rice is al dente.
ADD lemon zest and peas, stirring to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring a few times. The rice should be tender. Taste, and add salt as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Serve hot.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings (6 cups)
Per serving (based on 4): 450 calories, 34 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar