Chef Joel & Jenn: Persian-Style Chicken & Crispy Rice

We've made it to the third and final recipe on our first round of Blue Apron (yes there's going to be more coming soon). The first two recipes (Seared Steak & Creamy Lumaca) were huge successes. The third was the recipe that both Jenn and I were least excited about. What could really be exciting about a chicken dish? I mean its chicken. Wow was I wrong, this was my favorite of the three recipes. 

Maybe I'm just slow, or maybe their pre time estimates at Blue Apron are optimistic, but I almost doubled that estimate even with my amazing sous chef Jenn. The recipe starts by cooking the white rice and splitting half of it to a "warm place" and the other half baking it in the oven for ten minutes to crisp it up. Once the rice was cooking we started to prep all of the ingredients which included summer squash, lemons and lemon zest, onions, parsley, currants, and almonds. 

Then it was time to cook the chicken breast after cubing it up and mixing it with the Persian seasoning. We finished off the dish by cooking the vegetables, mixing it all together, and making the lemon yogurt to put on top. What turned out was an incredibly well seasoned and insanely tasty dish. The crispy rice is a revelation that I will absolutely do again with half of the rice that we make in the rice cooker all the time. The chicken, for chicken breast, was out of this world.

For a chicken dish, I couldn't have been more impressed. We also found out that we love summer squash, so another big positive for this recipe. All in all I loved this recipe, and if it ever comes back up on Blue Apron I would love to eat this entire dinner again. 


Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 oz of chopped chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup of jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 pink lemon
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 3 tablespoons of almonds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Persian chicken spice blend (ground cardamom, ground cumin, & ground turmeric)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 475ºF. In a small pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Transfer half the cooked rice to a sheet pan; spread into an even layer. Set the remaining cooked rice aside in a warm place.
  • While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Quarter the squash lengthwise; cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems. Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Place the currants in a bowl; top with the juice of 2 lemon wedges.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and transfer to a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and the spice blend; toss to coat. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a plate and set aside in a warm place.
  • Add the butter to the pan of reserved fond and heat on medium-high until melted. Add the onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add the almonds, cooked chicken, and half the parsley; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the vegetables cook, drizzle the sheet pan of cooked rice with olive oil. Bake, stirring halfway through, 7 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 2 minutes. Carefully transfer to the pot of remaining cooked rice. Stir in the currants (including any liquid). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the rice bakes, in a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, yogurt, the juice of the remaining lemon wedges, and 1 teaspoon of water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished rice between 2 dishes and top with the finished chicken and vegetables. Top with spoonfuls of the lemon yogurt. Garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve with the remaining lemon yogurt on the side. Enjoy!

Recipe Source: Blue Apron