We gave a range on the meaty chicken thighs called for - I used about a pound and a half to attain four hearty servings for us, but the original did call for two full pounds. Both of us thought our amount was plenty, but if you'll be serving meat-hungry people, bump it up to two pounds. While the chicken does cook through as apart of the rice-cooking process, to give it a more developed character, after the thighs were seasoned, we browned both sides of the chicken (in two batches - don't try to stuff all of them in the pot and expect to get a decent sear) first, then set them on a plate while we continued on with the recipe.
Into the drippings left behind, we tossed in a mild sliced red onion and let the pieces sweat out, scraping the bottom of the pot as we went along to pull up any tasty bits stuck from the chicken. If the bottom of your pot looks a bit dry or the bits don't seem to be coming off, don't be shy to use some help - add just a little wine, broth or even water, to help loosen the prized caramelized nuggets stuck to the bottom. Garlic, chopped coarse, went in next, along with cumin and the magic ingredient for this one-pot meal - chopped chipotle chiles! These gems are just smoked jalapeños, canned in a vinegary sauce, that are earthy and lend a fiery sweet heat. Since we crave spice, we used two - but one would be fine, or if that is even too much, you can scrape the seeds out to lessen the blow.
Once the garlic and spices had a chance to bloom, a couple fresh tomatoes are tossed in and allowed to cook until their juices flow over the bottom of the pan, giving you a base to cook the rice in. You won't have quite enough liquid, so a cup of broth (or water, if you so choose) is also poured into the pot, along with the partially-cooked chicken and any juices they left behind. The rice doesn't go in just yet - a cover is added, trapping the moisture in the pot, and the ingredients are left to simmer and marry.
Several minutes later, the rice is ready to go in, basmati in our case (or your choice of long-grained white rice) - I do suggest removing the chicken first as you want the rice to be completely submerged in the liquid. However, be sure you put the chicken back in! Do note that this takes longer to cook than your average pot of rice - plan for an extra 5 to 10 minutes. Cooked until the rice absorbed all the fragrant juices and liquid in the pot, turning a rosy tinge of red in the process, we served each portion with a sprinkling of cilantro and a wedge of lime for a touch of brightness. I appreciated how the layers of salt seasoned this dish, first on the chicken, a little with the onion and finally with the tomatoes as each had their own benefit and resulted in a meal that was anything but bland!
Chipotle Chicken and Rice