I love lemons. Not only do they have lots of health benefits for fighting colds, inflammation, and high cholesterol, they add a clean taste to many dishes and drinks. They are very versatile and can be easily used as a garnish or as a dominant flavor.
Originally, I thought of making lemon chicken, but I didn't want the chicken to take center stage. I wanted to showcase the lemon flavor. By adding lemon to the rice instead of on the chicken, I knew I would get the combination I wanted.
The first time I made this, I wanted to make sure it was lemony enough, so I added the chopped lemon into the rice and the sliced lemon on top. This combination was perfect for me, but the great thing is you can easily change it to be more or less lemony, more or less spicy.
Start to finish this recipe takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to make. For best results, make it just before serving.
Honestly, I liked this rice so much. I could probably eat it for a meal on its own.
Chicken and Rice
3/4 c medium grain rice (I like Carolina for Paella Rice)
4 Chicken Thighs (with skin and bone)
1 Small Onion (I prefer Vidalia), coarsely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves - peeled and minced
3/4 c of fresh lemon juice (about four lemons, depending on their size)
3/4 c chicken broth (I use Swanson)
1 thinly sliced lemon
1-2 lemons, peeled and chopped
Handful of chopped parsley
3/4 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp hot or smoked paprika (optional)
Place rice in a bowl and fill it to the top to soak until ready to cook.
Combine the ingredients for the spice rub.
Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel to dry. Use a small knife to slightly lift the skin (but do not remove it).
Add spice rub to the top and underneath the skin of each chicken thigh.
Coat the frying pan with oil and heat the oil. Place the chicken thighs skin side down and brown both sides. After browning, remove chicken and set it to the side.
Place onion in the pan and cook it for 5 minutes. You can add more oil if needed, but typically, there will still be oil remaining from before as well as some fat from the chicken.
After 5 minutes, add the garlic. It is good to add the garlic later because it burns quickly. Cook for one more minute.
Add the lemon juice and chicken broth. Deglaze the pan by scraping off any pieces that may have stuck to the bottom (this adds lots of flavor). Stir briefly and then add the chicken back to the frying pan.
Raise the heat, bring it to a boil, lower the heat to medium/high, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken again and set it aside.
Drain and rinse the rice. Add it to the pan. Boil the rice in the (uncovered) pan for 2-3 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium.
Add chopped lemon to the rice and stir.
Add the chicken back to the pan and cook covered for 15-20 minutes.
While the rice and chicken are cooking, add a little olive oil to a different pan and brown the lemon slices on both sides. You can skip this step and use raw lemon slices if you prefer.
Chop the parsley.
Once the rice is fully cooked and most of the water is absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and let it stand covered for 10 minutes.
Add lemon slices and parsley and serve.
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