I’m always a bit hesitant to try out “the most popular” Pinterest recipes…I mean, we’ve all seen these Fails…but I am a sucker for one pot meals and couldn’t resist taking a stab at this One Pot Greek Chicken & Lemon Rice from Recipe Tin Eats. For reference, this is the photo that lured me in…
I didn’t have time to give the chicken as much of a marinade as I would have liked. We got home from work on the late side, so I was hungry and ready to get the dinner show on the road, but not having any fresh veggies on hand bought me a little marination time. RF ran to the store for some broccoli while I tossed together the marinade in a Ziploc and let the chicken sit while pulling together the remaining ingredients.
I’m pretty sure it got the minimum 20 minutes the recipe suggested, but I’m wondering if a longer soak might have somehow helped with the next step. I heated the olive oil in the only suitable pan I have for transferring from stovetop to oven. This also happens to be the pan that I usually use for browning meats – successfully, I might add. So, I got to work heating the pan to a very typical medium-high range and waited for the oil to warm to the point of steaming and beginning to bubble before adding the thighs. I got a good sizzle when they went in, but things didn’t progress well from there.
I left the meat to sear and returned a few minutes later to find that the chicken skin had melted into the pan in a fatty gooey mess. I rotated everything and tried to give it more time to caramelize, but decided to move onto the next step and remove them from the heat when it was clear that browning wasn’t going to happen and the thighs were starting to cook through. I’d rather have pale but juicy, rather than brown and dry, in the end. It was a good choice for taste, but they certainly didn’t look very pretty – much of the skin had pulled right off.
This first-level fail did leave lots of toasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and while the recipe called for wiping out the pan at this point, I opted instead for scraping them up and incorporating them into the rice. The onions soaked up much of this flavor during the sautée, and the rest came up when I added the water and chicken stock. I will point out that the recipe isn’t very clear at this point. The note about adding liquids lacks an end parenthesis, so I wasn’t entirely clear if I was missing something or not. I decided to just go for it and add everything listed under the rice, which worked out just fine…I guess. It still looked pretty pitiful when I put the naked chicken back on top of the cooking rice.
Just as I was about to put it all in the oven, I realized that there weren’t any lemon slices in my dish as there were in the original photo. Looking back at the recipe, I saw that parsley and lemon zest were listed as garnish, but no word of lemon slices. Now, if you were that kid in school who read all the way through that horrendous trick quiz that tells you 1. to read all the directions first, and 33. not to do any of the steps listed from 2-32, you likely would have read all the way through this blogger’s post to see down in the separate set of notes that she “garnished this with slices of lemon which I seared in the pan after cooking the chicken.” Who tacks a note like this onto the end of a post and doesn’t update it within the recipe?! Ugh.
Feeling creative and resourceful, and a bit like a rogue gourmet, I tucked the lemon slices between the chicken pieces before baking. Gourmet chefs do things like “tucking” flavor into a dish, right? Wrong. Well, they might, but they clearly have a better sense of what they’re doing. When those of us who are less skilled in the culinary arts “tuck in flavor”, we risk ending up with rice that is completely overpowered by lemon. Sigh. It actually might have worked out well if I had put the lemon slices on top of the chicken rather than in between it. Given their shorter marination time, they hadn’t yet soaked up much of the citrusy flavor and might’ve benefitted from a boost during baking. Plus, the lemon slices also might have made the tops of the chicken look nicer without any lovely browned skin. Oh well. This was the final result.
Looks just like the inspiration photo, does it? Yeah, no. Here, let me put them side by side for ya…
Well, not one to waste food, I sautéed the broccoli that RF picked up for us in olive oil with salt and a dash of red pepper flakes. The spice was a nice balance to the tart sweetness of the rice. And, the chicken was actually moist and delicious. In the end, our plates were clean; so, I can’t exactly claim that it was a total fail. In fact, I would make it again…with a few tweaks, of course. I will update you if I try again.