One of the first meals I ever learned how to cook for myself (other than Top Ramen that is) was lemon pepper chicken tenders. I would serve the lemony pan seared tenders with a hefty side of chicken flavored Rice A Roni, along with a pile of over steamed broccoli drowning under an oozing mound of processed cheese product. Nonetheless, I was rather proud of the dish at the time and the memory of it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
The recipe below is my old school lemon pepper chicken tender recipe all grown up.
2 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
juice from half a fresh lemon
1/2 a lemon, cut into thick slices
4 – 5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh lemon zest,
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, or to taste
1 cup white or brown Basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
1 cup frozen sweet peas
about 2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp EVOO
1 tab butter
Salt and additional black pepper to taste
Preheat a convection oven on the roast setting to 350 degrees.
In a shallow roasting pan, layer the sliced lemon and thyme sprigs on the bottom. Add in about 1/2 to 1 inch of water. Set aside.
On a clean surface, rub the chicken thighs with the EVOO then evenly coat with salt and the lemon pepper seasoning. Transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, skin side up. Carefully place in the preheated oven and roast until the chicken reaches at least 165 degrees and the skin is crisp and golden, about 35 to 45 minutes. Once the chicken has thoroughly cooked, remove it from the oven and set aside to rest.
Meanwhile, melt the tab of butter in a small dutch oven over high flame. Add in the rice and toast 3 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Deglaze with the lemon juice, continuing to stir up the toasted rice. Next add in the chicken stock, lemon zest, salt, pepper, frozen sweet peas and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce flame to low, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook the rice until it is tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. Turn off the flame, uncover, and allow rice to rest an additional 10 or so minutes. Once cooled slightly, fluff the rice with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately with the lemon pepper chicken thighs.