This baked chicken thigh casserole started a quick and lazy way for me to get dinner on the table. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it by adding more flavors such as bell peppers and the tarragon. But the rice had always been mushy. My latest tweak is to use an earthenware dish that cooks more evenly and to remove the aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes of cooking. I confess, I’m still tweaking. My second confession: I can never get enough of the simple flavors I find in the dish.
NOTE: The casserole is baked with the skin on and the fresh tarragon is placed under the skin to add their flavors to the rice. The tarragon and skin are discarded after baking. Personally, I don’t care for baked chicken skin when it is not crisp. Also, I used an earthenware casserole dish.
The rice, vegetables, and chicken thighs are layered with pats of butter. Water is poured into the dish at sides.
This is the final backed dish but I stole one of the thighs and some rice before I took the picture. Well, I was just that hungry.
Tools: 9” round earthenware or a 9” x 12” glass casserole dish
4 chicken thighs with skin on, bone in and washed
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon with leaves on stems
1 cup of long grain rice, rinsed and uncooked
2 cups of water
1 medium-sized onion, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, sliced thin (color is optional, orange, red or green)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spread the rice evenly in the bottom of the dish
Spread the sliced onions over the rice, then spread the sliced bell peppers over the onions.
Season well according to taste and add about 4-5 small pats of butter.
Season the chicken thighs. Place the sprigs of fresh tarragon under the skin of each piece. Sprinkle paprika over each thigh.
Place chicken thighs evenly over the bell pepper and add a pat of butter to the top of each thigh.
Pour water into the dish along the side. Do not pour the water over the chicken or it will rinse the paprika off of the chicken thighs.
Tint the casserole dish aluminum foil and place the dish on the middle rack of the oven.
Bake: 45-60 minutes if using an earthenware dish; 30-35 minutes if using a glass cassarole dish. Remove the aluminum from the dish the last 10-15 minutes of the baking.
The casserole is baked with the skin on and the fresh tarragon is placed under the skin to add flavor to the rice. The tarragon is discarded after baking, as well as the skin. Personally, I don’t care for baked chicken skin when it is not crisp. Also, I used an earthenware casserole dish which required more cooking time. Often when I use a glass casserole dish, the rice comes out mushy. But when I use an earthenware casserole dish, the rice is not as mushy; in fact, the rice is almost fluffy. If you prefer a more fluffy rice texture, this may not be the cooking method for you.