Wild Rice Baked with Chicken, Fennel, and Porcini
This one-pot main dish can be made using fresh, meaty porcini mushrooms when they are ripe in the fall. When fennel’s season extends beyond the porcini, into the winter and spring, dried porcini make an excellent substitute for fresh.
Serves4 to 6
Total Timeunder 2 hours
One Pot MealYes
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturemeaty, savory, umami
- 1 pound fresh or 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 1½ to 2½ cups Chicken Stock or low-sodium broth
- 4 to 6 whole chicken thighs, with skin and bones (1½ to 2 pounds)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup wild rice
If using fresh mushrooms, clean them with a damp cloth. Halve or quarter any very large mushrooms, and then cut all the mushrooms into ¼-inch thick slices. Set aside.
If using dried porcini, place them in a medium bowl and add just enough hot water to cover. Let stand for 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened. Lift the mushrooms out with your fingers, squeezing the excess water back into the bowl. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and set them aside. Pour the soaking liquid into a measuring cup, leaving behind the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Add enough chicken stock to make 2½ cups. Set aside.
Arrange one rack in the center of the oven and one 6 inches from the top, Heat the oven to 375°F.
Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season them with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, ovenproof, straight-sided skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down. Cook until nicely browned and then turn and brown the other side, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
Add the onion to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onion until it begins to sweat, about 4 minutes. Add the fennel and another pinch of salt. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved porcini and the thyme leaves and season with salt. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and their liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes for fresh porcini and about 2 minutes for dried.
Add the wild rice and stir to coat with the vegetables and oil. Pour in the 2½ cups stock. Tuck the chicken thighs, skin side up, into the vegetables. Bring the mixture to the boil on the stovetop and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Place in the oven and cook until the rice grains are tender and have splayed open and the liquid is absorbed, 1 hour to 1¼ hours. Try not to check the rice before 1 hour; opening the lid releases all the vital steam from the pan.
Remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Uncover the the pan and return to the oven, placing it on the top rack. Broil until the chicken skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Spoon onto warmed plates and serve.
2008 Jim Denevan