Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2: Spring Chicken with Leeks and Peas Served with Lemon Rice

2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup white rice
   Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 to 2 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into large bite-size pieces, about 2 inches
2 medium leeks, trimmed of tough tops and roots
1/2 cup dry white wine, or substitute chicken stock if you do not have wine on hand
1 10-ounce box frozen tender green peas
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
   A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small pot. Stir in the rice, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon of the EVOO - eyeball the amount. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 17 to 18 minutes, until tender.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO and the butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the chicken to the pan and saute until lightly golden on both sides, 4 minutes.

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch half-moons. Place the leeks in a colander and wash under cold running water, separating the layers and releasing all the grit. You can also place the sliced leeks in a large bowl of cold water and swish them around like a washing machine. The grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Drain the leeks well and add them to the chicken.

Cook the leeks with the chicken until they wilt down, 3 minutes or so. Add the white wine to the pan and scrape up any pan drippings. Add the peas and heat through, another minute or two. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemon juice over the chicken and leeks. (Juice the fruit with the cut side facing up, keeping the seeds with the lemon rather than in the chicken.)

Fluff the rice with a fork. The zest in the cooking liquid will have infused the rice with lemon flavor. Add the parsley and toss the rice to combine.

Pile the chicken and leeks on dinner plates and top with a small mound of lemon rice.


RR says: 'Feel free to make this dish in all four seasons. I just call it "Spring Chicken" because it tastes light and crisp, like spring air, and because "Spring Chicken" sounds more appetizing than "Leeky Chicken," which was what I called an earlier version of this recipe.' This is her tidbit: 'I use an ice-cream scoop to serve rice.'

Again, I forgot to buy parsley, so that's the only thing I left out of this recipe. I really liked it, being past my "I hate chicken" phase of pregnancy. It was pretty simple to make, too, even though the instructions were somewhat lengthy. I finished a good 1/2 hour before my husband got home from work!


  1. I've never done leeks before. Thanks for the tips.

  2. They're pretty good. Are you going to try it?