One-pot baked chicken and rice(two ways)

Here is an easy week-night one-pot dish. The dish could be done two ways with either thighs or a whole chicken. The former is cooked faster and is easier in terms of cooking the chicken spot-on!. The latter however, will result in a visually impressive finished product. Recipes are provided for both cases. Try them both and enjoy! 

VERSION I: chicken thighs with spicy rice

1 cup Jasmine rice
2 cups water
1/2 TBSP salt
4 chicken thighs         
¼ TSP smoked paprika
¼ TSP curry powder
1 TBSP garlic, grated
1 large tomato, quartered 
1 TBSP sumac

VERSION II: whole chicken with lentil rice
2 cups Jasmin rice
4 cups water
1 cup black or French lentils
1 TBSP salt
1 large white onion, grated
2 slices of preserved lemon
1 medium chicken
Extra salt and pepper to season the chicken 
Pre-heat the oven on 400F(205C). For version II, combine rice, lentil and salt; put in a large baking pot along with preserved lemon slices.

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.  Pour in the water. Cook uncovered for around an hour and a half. Fluff up the rice with two forks every half an hour. This is important otherwise the top rice will end up being hard and even uncooked. 

For version I, repeat the same procedure. Mix everything except for sumac and tomato pieces.  Cooking time will be shorter and around an hour this time.

As soon as all the water is absorbed by rice, fluff the rice up. Arrange tomato pieces on top and sprinkle with sumac. Return to the oven.

Absolutely amazing! Chicken is super tender and the rice is intensely flavored.

Version II. Note that I did not grate the onion and almost immediately regretted it!. Make the pieces invisible and not floating on surface by grating the onion!

Served it with sumac roasted cauliflower and curried yogurt-tahini sauce.