During a recent bereavement, a neighbor made us a delicious meal for Shabbat. It was pure comfort food: chicken and rice with mushrooms. Sounds simple, but there was something about the rice, in particular, that was very comforting. I asked our neighbor, the cook, for the recipe. She said, “No special recipe. Just rice prepared with sautéed onions and mushrooms. Then put the raw chicken on top, season it however you like, and bake until the chicken is cooked through.
“The rice gets mushy,” she said, “but in a tasty way.”
Sarah’s Chicken and Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms
Yield: 4 or more servings
- 4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick, attached)
- 2 cups long grain (Persian) rice
- 4 tablespoons corn or olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 8-ounce basket of button mushrooms, washed and sliced
- Granulated garlic, to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Baking paper
- Aluminum foil
- Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until soft and beginning to color. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until liquid cooks away, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Stir rice into 2 tablespoons of oil in medium saucepan, over low heat for two minutes. Add four cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
- Preheat oven to 350° Cover the bottom of a baking pan with parchment paper. Add the rice to make an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Top the rice with the onion and mushroom mixture. Place the chicken on top of the rice and vegetables, and season the chicken to taste with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the chicken, and then cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover, and cook for 15 minute, or until juices run clear, when a knife is inserted in thickest part of a chicken thigh.
Note: This chicken dish is dry enough to place on top of the Shabbat plata/blecht, (while tasting fabulously moist) which is a plus for the Sabbath observant among us! The rice drinks up all the delicious juices from the chicken.