I look forward to the New England sugar snap pea harvest eleven months a year. These green dandies are perfect for dip and for crispy salads, especially with mint and lemon. This dinner is a riff on classic chicken and rice, made with sugar snap peas and leeks instead of peas and onions.
The dish is brightened at the end with a splash of fresh lemon and some fresh chives. I love to make this meal and then bring the whole pot outside for an easy, al fresco dinner. It is easy to prepare and easy to clean up, two things that fit summer cooking perfectly.
Springtime Chicken & Rice
A superb one pot dinner made of tender chicken, rice and sugar snap peas. The dish is seasoned with fresh herbs that are found in abundance this time of year. Using a Le Creuset Dutch Oven makes it easy to go from stove to table.
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 small thighs)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 leek, halved lengthwise and washed well, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 lb. sugar snap peas, strings removed, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives, divided
2 Tbsp. finely chopped mint (optional)
Add flour, lemon pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt to a gallon-size storage bag. Shake to combine. Add chicken. Seal and shake well to coat chicken with flour. Transfer thighs to a plate shaking off any excess flour into the bag. Discard remaining flour.
Add olive oil to a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (at least 5.5-qt.) over medium-high heat. When hot add chicken and brown nicely on both sides, about 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. You may have to do this step in batches, try not to overcrowd the pan.
Reduce heat to medium and add butter, garlic, leek, rice and remaining salt. Cook and stir until leek softens, about 2 minutes.
Add wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and stir well. Bring to a simmer. Place chicken on top of rice and add any cooking juices to the pot. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and rice is almost tender.
Transfer chicken to a plate. Stir snap peas, lemon zest, lemon juice and 3 Tbsp. of chives into the rice. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until the snap peas are crisp tender.
To serve, divide rice and chicken between 4 plates. Garnish each plate with remaining chives and mint, if using.
These recipe is being used in a program sponsored by the Le Creuset Outlet in Kittery, Maine that promotes local farms and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It was an honor to be asked to participate in this program and it seemed like I natural fit since I love my Le Creuset cookware and because I love farmer's markets.