I’m not trying to present anything authentically Greek like your native or first-generation Yaya made, but rather to elevate the simple chicken and rice dish with the flavors most Americans associate with Greek or (generically) Mediterranean food. In fact, if you leave off the Greek-ish additions, you could just say this is Lemon Pepper Chicken and Rice and stop there :-).
To easily change up a wonderful dish when it’s getting a little stale in the dinner rotation, consider adding lemon juice to your chicken and rice bake and serve with a sprinkle of feta cheese and olives.
Ingredients for a 4-serving bake
- 1 cup uncooked white or brown rice (jasmine, basmati, American long grain, whatever)
- 2 cups water or chicken stock or combination
- 1-2 lemons, juiced (1-2 T prepared lemon juice) – to taste
- 4 4-6-oz pieces of boneless chicken – any combination of breasts and thighs
- 1t salt (only if using water because even low sodium chicken stock already has salt)
- 1t – 1T black pepper – to taste
- 1 package of crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives (or black or green if you like those)
NOTE: you might think that dicing the chicken before putting it in the bake will make this easier, but the smaller pieces cook so much more quickly than the rice that they become dry and rubbery. Not pleasant, IMHO.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Layer rice, water/stock, juice, chicken, salt, and pepper in a 9×9 baking dish in the order listed above for the least messy assembly.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir – this is essential for all of the rice to get cooked.
Bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.
Use two forks to shred the chicken. Stir to mix thoroughly with the rice.
Serve with a sprinkle of feta cheese and chopped olives.
LEFTOVERS: if you have any leftovers, they make for a great cold rice salad with artichoke, cucumber, tomato, and sweet onion and a drizzle of olive oil or Greek salad dressing added to the feta and olives. Mmmmm, lunch!