If the butter is an effort too far, leave it out—it’s still a good dish. This is also lovely with a generous handful of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese sprinkled on top 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. You don’t have to use only chicken thighs, you can use a mixture of thighs and drumsticks if you prefer.
For the chicken and rice:
- 1/2 ounce dried wild mushrooms
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thickly sliced
- 8 good-sized skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, excess skin neatly trimmed
- 3/4 pound pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, and chopped into big chunks or wedges (prepared weight)
- A little extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the sage butter:
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Soak the wild mushrooms in 1/3 cup just-boiled water for 15 minutes.
To make the sage butter, mash the butter with the sage and garlic and set it aside (I only chill this if I’m going to keep it for a while).
Drain the wild mushrooms, adding their soaking liquid to the chicken stock.
Wash the rice in a sieve under the cold tap, until the water runs clear, to remove the excess starch.
Put the onion and both the cremini and dried mushrooms into a 12-inch sauté pan or shallow casserole (the width is very important) and sprinkle on the rice (it may not look like much, but it expands, don’t worry). Put the chicken thighs, skin side up, and the pumpkin on top. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the vegetables and chicken and season well. Bring the stock mixture to a boil, then carefully pour it around the chicken thighs.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, by which time the chicken will be lovely and golden and the stock will have been absorbed. Put pats of the sage butter over the chicken thighs, allow it to melt, then serve.
Reprinted with permission from “From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves” by Diana Henry. Published by Mitchell Beazley.