I have a delicious, lick-the-plate kind of good, sweet and savory, One Skillet Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Cranberries & Rice dish that you can have on the table in about an hour. Any time there is less mess and less prep, especially on a weeknight, I am one happy mama!
Today’s dish uses in-season whole fresh cranberries. I love when cranberries make their annual appearance. It means the holidays are right around the corner – and that makes me a little giddy.
I think cranberries are an underrepresented Autumn and Winter ingredient though. Somehow they’ve been typecast as a holiday side dish or as a cocktail garnish. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few floating around in a glass of Fall Sangria right now ;). However, these ruby-red beauties bring the right amount of sweet and tart to a savory chicken dish like this one.
I’m using bold flavors in this recipe to balance the sweet, like garlic, balsamic, paprika and rosemary. There’s also chicken stock, white wine, fresh squeezed lemon and wild and red rice. This dish is certainly not short on flavor!
The rice will absorb the majority of the liquid and because it cooks beneath the chicken, it will bask in the brothy goodness. Spell check just told me that “brothy” is not a word. Oh, spellcheck, I beg to differ. The liquids will reduce into a thick and silky essence that will keep the rice moist and robust.
I like to pair this type of dinner with a cool, crisp salad. Just a simple tossed salad will do. And wine. Always wine. Sometimes wine first. Am I wrong?
To save even more time in the evening, marinate the chicken the night before. That’s a win! Like my kids would say “winner, winner, chicken dinner!”
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One Skillet Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Cranberries + Rice
Makes 5 Servings
For the chicken + marinade:
5 chicken thighs, skin on and bone-in
6 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small lemon, halved and juiced. Keep the lemon halves.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
Ground black pepper for taste
For the cranberries:
1 cup of whole fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the rice:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup of long grain rice
1 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth or stock + 1/4 cup more
1/3 cup of dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Two fresh rosemary sprigs
Chicken can be marinated overnight (optional) otherwise set aside 20 minutes. You will also need a large oven-safe skillet big enough to comfortably hold 5 chicken thighs, I used a 12 inch skillet.
- Combine cranberries, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of balsamic, stir gently to combine and set aside;
- With a paper towel, pat chicken thighs dry. In a large gallon size ziplock-type bag, or in a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, paprika, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, the lemon halves, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Massage ingredients into chicken thighs until the chicken is well coated. Set aside for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight;
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Over medium-high flame, add 1 tablespoon olive oil in large oven-safe skillet. When the oil shimmers, add chicken, skin side down. Reserve the marinade. Sear chicken until golden, 5 minutes on each side. Once seared, remove chicken and set aside. Using a slotted spoon, spoon any loose browned bits or remaining garlic that was left in the pan over the chicken. Pour off any fat in the pan, wiping down the excess oil with a balled-up paper towel.
- Over medium-low flame, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet. Add the finely chopped onion with a light sprinkle of salt and saute until tender and translucent. Scrape up any stuck-on bits and mix them in as you occasionally stir;
- Add white wine (remove from pan from flame when doing so). Return to flame and deglaze the pan by scraping up any additional browned bits. Allow the wine to reduce by half, about 5 minutes or so. Add the reserved marinade and rice and remaining rice ingredients, stir well to combine. Allow mixture to come to a simmer and continue simmering for 30 seconds;
- Add chicken on top of the rice and spoon cranberry mixture on top of the chicken. Nestle rosemary sprigs in between the chicken, (not under the chicken, as most of the rosemary will fall off the stem if underneath and will be harder to discard). Cover skillet and roast for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to roast for another 15 minutes. When done, remove the skillet from the oven and allow the chicken and rice to rest before serving, about 10 minutes. Pair with a simple green tossed salad.
- Do not use any type of rice. Some rice requires a longer cook time and/or different methods of preparation, like risotto. A long grain rice is best. A rice that only needs 15-20 minutes of cook time will also work well.
- If you don’t have a lid that fits your skillet use a piece of foil.
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