It takes less than an hour, start to finish, to make this fragrant, North African-inspired dish. Not only do we love the fact that this low-prep meal goes from oven to table and can serve a big crowd, but it’s endlessly adaptable to other cuisines by swapping out the spices and add-ins.
Recipe: Baked Chicken and Rice with Dates and Pistachios
12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup harissa sauce or ¼ cup harissa paste
1 cup diced dates or dried apricots
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup roasted pistachios
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Lemon wedges, for serving
The Field Method for Cast Iron Care
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
Set a No.16 Double-Handled Skillet over two burners and heat over medium heat for a few minutes, rotating the pan a quarter turn a few times. Add ¼ cup olive oil to the pan and heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook until the skin is well browned and releases easily from the skillet, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil along with the rice, spices, and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the harissa, chicken stock and stir well. Once the liquid reaches a steady simmer, place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the rice and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
Sprinkle the pistachios and feta over the rice and serve with lemon wedges.
Seasoning Rating: Better
The quick cook-time and blend of olive oil and chicken stock as cooking fats will keep developing seasoning happy. All the same, serve from the skillet first before transferring rice to separate dish in order to avoid pockets of moisture lingering on the cooking surface.
Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.
Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.
Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.
OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.