Orange Thyme Baked Chicken and Rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
12 fresh, whole thyme sprigs, divided
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 navel orange
2 cups long-grain brown rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Season the skin side of the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Working in batches to keep from overcrowding the pan, place the chicken thighs into the hot oil and butter, skin-side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the skins are very golden brown and crisp. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for another minute. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Standing back from the pot, carefully toss 8 of the whole thyme sprigs into the hot drippings. Fry the thyme for 1 minute, then remove the stems from the oil with tongs and discard. Add the sliced onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Add the orange juice to the pot and stir, scraping any browned bits off the bottom.
Pour the rice into the pan and stir to coat the grains of rice in the liquid and distribute the onions and garlic throughout the rice. Add the chicken stock to the pot and season with the remaining salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and stir well.

Nestle the chicken thighs on top of the rice mixture and pour in any juices that were left on the plate. Cover the Dutch oven tightly and bring to a boil. As soon as the liquid is boiling, transfer the covered dish to the oven. Bake for 1 hour until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. Remove the lid from the pot and sprinkle the hot chicken and rice with the zest of the orange and the leaves from the remaining 4 sprigs of thyme.

Recipe and photo provided by Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook by The Family Dinner Project, published by Familius and available anywhere books are sold.