Whether you've been busy or cozied up to a fire during the holidays, here's an omnivore's dish that just might work for you. It cooks in a single pot and manages to provide warmth and brightness in every bite. If you have leftover roast turkey or chicken, skip the fresh poultry steps; pull apart the meat with your fingers — a mixture of dark and white meat, preferably — then toss it in after the yogurt has been added.
Serve with a green salad.
Chicken and Rice in Lemon Zest Yogurt
3 to 4 servings (6 cups)
Adapted from "One-Pot Wonders," by Clifford A. Wright (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).
1 medium onion
1 large clove garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds (skinless)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup long-grain rice such as basmati
3 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1 cup frozen peas
Cut the onion in half, then into very thin half-moons (or cut into 1/2-inch pieces; your choice). Mince the garlic; those ingredients can be piled together. Cut off and discard all large pieces of fat from the chicken thighs, then cut the meat into large chunks. Finely grate the zest from the lemons.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion has softened.
Add the chicken, almonds and turmeric, stirring to coat; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken has lost its raw look. Use tongs to transfer the pieces to a plate.
Stir in the water and rice; cook (at a boil) until the water has evaporated. While you are stirring, you'll want to scrape/dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the yogurt, stirring until well blended.
Whisk together the egg white, cornstarch and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a measuring cup, then stir into the pot, moving in only 1 direction (clockwise, for example). Increase the heat to high; cook for 2 minutes, stirring in that one direction, to keep the yogurt from breaking. Reduce the heat to medium, then return the chicken to the pot along with any collected juices; cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes or until the rice is al dente.
Add the lemon zest and peas, stirring to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring a few times. The rice should be tender. Taste, and add salt as needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Serve hot, at the table.
Per serving (based on 4): 450 calories, 34 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar