Skillet Chicken and Rice with Peas and Scallions
Why This Recipe Works
There are lots of bad recipes out there for quick chicken and rice. Most contain leftover chicken, instant rice, and canned cream-of-something soup. We aimed to improve this dish all around and still deliver it to the table on time.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are definitely convenient, but we needed to prevent them from drying out. Dredging them in flour not only gave the chicken a nice brown crust but also kept the meat juicy inside. After browning the breasts on one side in a nonstick skillet, we removed them to deal with the rice. We first sautéed minced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in butter, then added the rice and stirred to coat the grains. Coating and toasting the rice this way before adding liquid is a technique that imparts deeper flavor and keeps the rice grains distinct and firm. We added a little white wine to the skillet for brightness. We then added chicken broth and returned the chicken to the skillet to cook through. When the chicken was done, we removed it from the skillet and finished cooking the rice. Off the heat, we added frozen peas, which cooked in a just couple of minutes, and stirred in lemon juice and sliced scallions for a fresh, bright flavor. In about 30 minutes, this dish was perfectly cooked, flavorful, and ready to serve. In addition, we developed two variations: one with cheddar and broccoli and the other with the spicy flavors of curry.