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chicken cilantro with white rice

Chicken Cilantro

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Chicken Cilantro takes the cake as far as cilantro-centric cookery goes. An entire bunch goes into the pot and bathes pre-browned chicken pieces until the meat is tender enough to pull from the bone with a fork.

This is an old, Mexican family recipe, given to me decades ago by a former client from my personal chef days. Roberto was born and raised in Mexico City, and this was a favorite meal, passed down from his mother. Her name was Maria. I am forever grateful to Maria for the good fortune of adding her recipe to my repertoire.

There are so many reasons why cilantro is good for those of us with thyroid disease. I have been rekindling a long romance with it, mainly after learning about its detoxifying properties. Did you know it can help flush the body of toxic metals like mercury and lead? More on that below.

Due to less-than-ideal farming practices and feed, it is especially important to source chicken carefully. Organic, pastured birds are the best choice. Yes, high-quality chicken costs more, but if you purchase whole birds and butcher them yourself, and then save the carcass for chicken bone broth, you’ll get the most bang for your cluck (tee hee).

If you are on the Paleo diet or do not eat grains, you can serve the chicken over cauliflower rice, in place of the rice recipe below. If you also omit the pepper, this recipe is AIP-friendly. 


Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights:


Chicken Cilantro

Chicken Cilantro

Yield: 4
Author: Ginny Mahar
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly (see notes).


For the Chicken:
  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed (cut in two if they're large)
  • 2 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 2 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 bunches cilantro, divided
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 14 fl oz chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste (omit pepper for AIP)
Maria's Rice:
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice (sub. cauli rice for Paleo/AIP, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion, preferably white
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste


To make the chicken:
  1. Remove skin from chicken breasts and thighs. The drumsticks will hold together better if you leave the skin on. Rinse chicken under cool running water, and pat dry. Sprinkle chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat oil in a large dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Saute until nicely browned, 5-7 minutes each side.
  3. Meanwhile, combine 1 bunch cilantro, onion, garlic, and chicken broth in blender. Once blended, pour over chicken and simmer, covered, until meat is fork-tender and easily pulls away from the bone, about 45 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over Maria's Rice, garnished with plenty of fresh cilantro leaves.
To make Maria's Rice:
  1. In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt ghee over medium heat. Add rice and onion, and cook, stirring, until rice becomes opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Add whole cilantro sprigs, lime juice, water or broth, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes (or according to package instructions). Remove heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes more. Remove cilantro sprigs, fluff with a fork, and serve.


For Paleo or AIP substitite cauliflower rice: In a large skillet saute 1/2 cup white onion in a splash of olive oil. Add a 10 ounce bag of frozen cauliflower rice. Cook according to package instructions. Add juice of 1/2 lime, and a tablespoon of fresh chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper (omit pepper for strict AIP), to taste.

Nutrition Facts



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